March 08, 2012
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POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. — (Box Score) Ben Sitzmann scored a game-high 18 points in leading Briar Cliff (Iowa) to a 59-56 upset win over No. 11 Grace (Ind.) in the first round of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Tournament. The 2012 event is being played at the College of the Ozarks.
Grace scored the game’s first basket to take its only lead before Briar Cliff went on a 12-2 run and opened up a 12-5 advantage. A 3-pointer by Brenton Brown put the Chargers up 24-14 with six minutes to go in the half, but Grace rallied behind the inside play of Duke Johnson and Dennis Williams, who both scored eight points in the first half. The Lancers got to within three until Briar Cliff scored the final five points and led 31-26 at intermission.
Two free throws gave the Chargers their largest lead, 40-28, minutes into the second half. Grace stormed back to tie the game at 47 after a three-point play by Greg Miller. Briar Cliff responded with an 8-2 run and limited Grace to one basket for the final four minutes for the win.
Briar Cliff shot 42 percent for the game and held a slim 30-28 advantage on the boards. Eric Rohe added 10 points, going 2-for-2 from the 3-point line.
Grace was led by Duke Johnson with 15 points and seven rebounds, while both Bruce Grimm Jr. and Karl Columbus netted 10. The Lancers shot 40 percent for the game and struggled from the perimeter, making just 3-of-14 three-point attempts. Grace finishes the season with a 24-8 record.
Briar Cliff, now 22-10 on the year, will play either No. 6 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) or Eastern Oregon on Friday at 9:15pm.