Kansas City, Mo. - (Box Score) LSU Shreveport (La.) recorded the biggest upset on the first day of the 2013 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championships, knocking off No. 8 Pikeville (Ky.), 91-87. The Pilots will advance to the second round and play the winner of Evangel (Mo.)/Montana State-Northern on Friday, March 15 at 4:30 p.m. CDT. The event is held at Municipal Auditorium.
Rodney Milum scored a tournament-best 30 points for the Pilots and connected on 7-of-12 three-point shots, while also converting 7-of-8 free throws. Brandon Davis and Mark Politte each scored 21 points and combined for 23 rebounds, while Tevin Hall added 17 points and six rebounds off the bench.
LSU Shreveport (25-6) scored 13-straight points over 3:30 early in the first half to turn a two-point deficit into an 18-7 lead. Milum hit the first of his three-pointers in the spurt, while Hall had five of his 11 first half points. The Bears chipped away at the lead and got within two before the Pilots finished the half with seven-consecutive points over the final 1:08 to take a 44-35 halftime lead.
The Pilots led by 10 with 6:45 remaining, but the Bears used a 11-1 run to tie the game for the first time since the opening two minutes after a bucket by Josh Whitaker. Milum quickly broke the tie with the last of his three-pointers, and the Pilots made 11 free throws over the final 1:11 to seal the win.
"I'm so proud of my guys for being strong and being tough and finding a way to get to the basket," said LSU Shreveport head coach Kyle Blankenship. I've got two all-Americans in Rodney Milum and Brandon Davis on this team, and tonight they both stepped up like we needed them to."
The Pilots converted 29-of-38 free throws (.763) in the contest, while Pikeville was just 8-of-18 (.444) from the charity stripe. The Bears scored 52 points in the second half and shot 55.6 percent from the field, but the Pilots committed just 11 turnovers and shot 48.1 percent after the break.
"What it boils down to is you have to give credit to LSU Shreveport," said Pikeville head coach Kelly Wells. "They were very good and we picked a bad night to not play very well. I'm proud of our seniors. We've had a good year. Really didn't expect this moment, but we are going to be like men and move forward."
P.J. Jenkins led five players in double figures with 26 points on 6-of-7 three-point shooting for Pikeville. Jamar Briscoe tallied 14 points and five rebounds, while Trevor Setty and Josh Whitaker each scored 11 points and grabbed three rebounds apiece.
Pikeville ends its season at 26-7.
Pikeville - The Bears are making their 7th appearance in the Division I Men's Basketball National Championship and own a 8-6 all-time record ... Pikeville is one of four schools from the state of Kentucky to win an NAIA Division I championship, claiming its title in 2011 ... The Bears allowed 90 or more points for the fifth time this season, going 2-3 in those games.
LSU Shreveport - The Pilots are making their 9th-straight national tournament appearance and improved to 6-8 all-time in the event ... LSU Shreveport has won its last three first round games, downing Xavier (La.) in 2012 and Life (Ga.) in 2011 ... The Pilots' Brandon Davis recorded his 16th double-double of the season ... LSU Shreveport is the NAIA leader in scoring offense, entering the tournament averaging nearly 92.5 points per game, and eclipsed the 100-point mark seven times so far in 2012-13.