KANSAS CITY, Mo. - (Box Score) Montana Western upset the No. 3 seed Lee (Tenn.), 83-73, to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2013 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship. The Bulldogs will face SAGU (Texas) tomorrow at 2 p.m. CDT. The 76th annual event is held at the Municipal Auditorium.
Lee, who led NAIA Division I in Field Goal Percent Defense, holding teams to shooting 36.7 percent, allowed Montana Western to shoot 48.3 percent from the floor. This is the first quarterfinals appearance for Montana in school history.
"The second half I thought we executed," said Montana Western head coach Steve Keller. "We were 17-of-29, and it seemed like everything we called the kids executed. In the first half we shot 17 threes, too many for us, but in the second half we started attacking the rim, got (Lee) into some foul trouble and got to the line."
Both teams struggled on the offensive end in the first five minutes of the game as the Bulldogs and Flames were locked in a 10-10 tie. The teams continued to battle in a back and forth as Lee took a five-point lead, 15-10. That lead did not last long as Montana Western battled back and trimmed the deficit to one several times before tying the game at 19 with 10 minutes and 27 seconds left in the first half.
The Flames proceeded to go on a run and grew their lead back up to eight points, 30-22, with 5:15 left before halftime. The Bulldogs were not going away quietly though as Montana Western pulled within three at half, 34-31, behind a jumper by Tyler Miller.
The Bulldogs offense caught fire in the second half as they shot 58.6 percent, 17-of-29, from the floor in the second half. The second half was a seesaw battle as both teams were tied five times and there were eight lead changes.
With nine minutes and 27 seconds left in the game, the Bulldogs' Kris Castro hit a jumper in the paint to put Montana Western on top, 61-59. After that field goal the Bulldogs never looked back and extended their lead with its hot shooting, leading by 11 points with 55 seconds left in the game before winning, 83-73.
Montana Western was led by four players in double figures, Jordan Overstreet and Kris Castro with 14 points apiece, while Maazin Butler and Kris Collins followed with 13 points apiece. Chase Dunn scored a game-high 17 points for the Flames. Jamorris Gaines collected a game-high nine rebounds.
Lee (Tenn.) -
- Slides to 3-3 all-time when playing in the championship second round (won in 2003, 2008 and 2010).
- The 30 season wins is the most since a 33-win campaign in 2007 - 08 and a trip in the national quarterfinals.
- Ranks Number 1 in Division I in Field Goal Pct Defense (0.367) - today, the Flames allowed Montana Western to shoot 48.3 percent from the floor.
- Will Barnes Ranks 10th in scoring (20.2) - he finished with 14 today.
- Lee suffered its worst loss of the year today (10 points). Of the three previous losses, the Flames fell by three points twice and the other time by two points.
- The 83 points allowed ties for the second most this season - Lee gave up 84 against Truett-McConnell (Ga.) in the 88-84 win on Jan. 22.
- After a 15-game winning streak near the later portion of the season - the Flames lost three out of their last five games to end the year.
- No. 14 University of Montana Western advanced to their third round of 16 appearances in four trips to Kansas City after returning to the tournament for the first time since 1989.
- Including 1989, Montana Western has been victorious in four of their last five first-round games after going winless in their first five appearances.
- Montana Western moves to the third round for the first time in school history.
- Since making its return in 1989, Montana Western has not been kind to higher-seeded teams. They knocked off tournament no. 1 Grand Canyon (Ariz.) 79-65 in the first round in 1989, dispatched no. 10 Union (Tenn.) 82-79 in 2010, and sent no. 13 John Brown packing in 2012 with a 85-83 OT win. Their only reversal in that stretch was a 77-76 battle against 2011 no. 1 seed Robert Morris.
- In addition to leading the squad with 14 points, Jordan Overstreet set a new career high with four offensive rebounds.
- With 14 points, Kris Castro picked up his first double-digit offensive outing since a Jan. 26 loss to Dickinson State (N.D.). The sophomore scored 11 points in the losing effort.