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NEVER MADE THE TOURNEY CLUB: St Francis beats St Francis, earns Francis rights for 2018

The NMTC heads to the NEC for some Francis on Francis action.

NCAA Basketball: St. Francis (PA) at Duke Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

In America’s favorite tradition, two teams that have the same name played each other in basketball, with the highest of stakes on the line.

As it has been for decades now, the first game of the year between St. Francis (NY) and St. Francis (PA) brings with it the biggest prize: the right to name children Francis in the upcoming year.

Said St. Francis (NY)’s head coach, Glenn “Francis” Braica, before the game, “obviously this game means a lot to not only our program, but to the whole state as well. There can only be one Francis, and it’s got to be us. We’re playing for a lot here.”

Alright, that isn’t actually true and I have no real angle for this story. However, what is true is that this game would have been a million times more interesting if every player on both St. Francises were named Francis. I would have had a lot more fun watching and probably would’ve cared a lot more about the result. Free suggestion here, Northeast Conference, but I think you should look into that.

Anyway.

The Terriers started off hot, pulling ahead to a convincing 39-31 lead at the break. They were getting big contributions from just about everyone who stepped on the court, and they controlled the tempo. The game was sloppy, perhaps, but that’s what the Terriers wanted.

Unfortunately, St. Francis couldn’t hold off St. Francis forever. The Red Flash had the better team and the best player and that became really evident, really quickly.

Jamaal King and Keith Braxton were just too much to handle for 40 minutes. They combined for 54 points, while Braxton pulled in 13 rebounds. The Red Flash took the lead in the second half, and the Terriers simply didn’t have enough in the tank to get back into the game.

The Red Flash continue to stake their claim as the class of the conference. They’re as good a bet as anyone to make the run to the finish. The Terriers look to be comfortably mediocre, a far cry from the bottom of the conference, but also more than a stone’s throw away from the leaders.

I won’t be expecting St. Francis to make the tournament for the first time ever, but as we’ve written before, the NMTC is looking pretty good right now. Between South Dakota, Lipscomb, and Grand Canyon, the Club should get enough chances to make March awfully interesting. St. Francis, however, will almost assuredly be returning for another year.