It was the rarest of sights in the Tim Cluess coaching era at Post: The opponent was celebrating on the Pioneers' home court. After 43 straight victories at Pratt Recreation Center, C.W. Post finally lost and it came in the biggest game of the season.
Bridgeport beat Post, 70-61, Sunday to win the East Coast Conference title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
"They made big shots, we broke down,'' Cluess said.
Bridgeport (23-8) started to take control with 8:57 left.
Trailing 53-49, the Purple Knights went on a 12-0 run to take a 61-53 lead with 3:52 left.
Post (23-6) twice closed the gap to four, the last time on Roberto Macklin's basket with 1:10 to play, but then Jermaine Washington (24 points) scored the game's final five points.
Post made it to the Elite Eight last season, defeating Bridgeport in the ECC title game.
Cluess still managed to squeeze enough out of a young team (no starters from 2008-09) to make the title game.
"I'm so proud of this team for what they did,'' Cluess said. "Winning 23 games when we started the season 3-4.
"[Bridgeport] made big shots, nothing but net. They were a physical team, a deeper team.''