Loyola basketball alums to play in NCAA Division III tournament: Michael Mangan (Class of 2015) and Kevin Cunningham (Class of 2018) both will play in the NCAA Division III tournament, which starts Friday. A senior, Mangan and University of Rochester are at home against Farmingdale State. Cunningham, a freshman, and St. Thomas open with Wisconsin-LaCrosse at Nebraska Wesleyan. Winners advance to the second round Saturday.
This is Mangan’s second trip to the tournament after the No. 23-ranked Yellowjackets (20-5) missed out last season. In 18.7 minutes, the 6-foot-1 guard is averaging 4.7 points and 3.0 rebounds to go with 43 assists and 23 steals in 20 games, including 16 starts.
A sprained ankle and separated shoulder slowed down Mangan over the second half of the season. According to him, he’s close to full strength and expects to be in the rotation Friday.
“I’m not 100 percent, but it’s nice to be able to get out there for such an important game,” he said. “For me to be a senior and for us to have a strong year is really cool.”
A Winnetka native, Mangan has been a four-year contributor at Rochester. He’s never experienced a losing season and enters the tournament with a 77-27 career record. He’s played in 99 of a possible 104 games, starting 46.
“To come in as a freshman and be given the opportunity to play right away and then continue to be a contributor every year is more than I could have asked for,” Mangan said. “A highlight is I’m one of six seniors who came here as a freshman. We all put in a lot of work and have been integral parts of this program. It’s rewarding that we will finish our careers together.”
In Cunningham’s first season, the 12th-ranked Tommies (22-4) are back in the tournament after not qualifying last season. He’s played 12 games and is averaging 1.9 points in 6.8 minutes.
“It’s a different kind of year for me, but you have to put in your time,” said Cunningham, a native of Glenview. “I’m working hard at practice and supporting the guys while on the bench. It’s all good. It’s been really fun.”