KANSAS CITY, Mo. - (Box Score) MidAmerica Nazarene used a second-half comeback to outlast No. 10 seed Oklahoma Baptist, advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2013 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship. The Pioneers will face the winner of Faulkner (Ala.) and No. 2 seed Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) tomorrow at 8 p.m. CDT. The 76th annual event is held at Municipal Auditorium.
MidAmerica Nazarene will make its second-ever appearance in the quarterfinals and its first since 2009 when the Pioneers advanced to the semifinals. In 2009, MidAmerica Nazarene also knocked off Oklahoma Baptist in the second round to move to the quarterfinals.
"This group hasn't quit all year," said MidAmerica Nazarene head coach Rocky Lamar. "We've had all kinds of adversity. I think (Rustin Dowd) hit a couple threes late and then Jacob (French) made three unbelievable blocks to save us. That's two seniors making plays at the end of the game. I was proud of them and it was a great win for us."
Oklahoma Baptist got off to a fast start as the Bison pulled out to a quick 12-3 lead less than three minutes into the ball game. Leading the stampede for the Bison was Chase Adams, who scored eight of the 12 points. Oklahoma Baptist continued to stretch its lead as they led, 21-7, with 13:16 left to play after an old-fashioned three-point play by Cale Jackson.
The Bison grew the lead to 22-9 before MidAmerica Nazarene started a comeback. The Pioneers went on a 9-3 run to pull within seven points at 25-18, with six minutes and one second left in the in first half. The Bison led the Pioneers 34-26 going into half.
Starting the second half, Oklahoma Baptist built its lead back up to 10 points at, 40-30, with 16:54 to go in the game. MidAmerica Nazarene's offense started to come to life as the Pioneers trimmed the Bison lead down to four, 42-38.
With the Pioneers within four points, Oklahoma Baptist pushed the lead out to 12 points after a made jumper by Jackson. MidAmerica made another comeback push starting at the eight minute 45 second mark of the second half, as they trailed 58-46. The Pioneers cut the lead to two points, 63-61, with just under three minutes remaining in the half.
One minute later, MidAmerica Nazarene took the lead, which they held onto for the rest of the game, after Rustin Dowd hit a three-pointer coming out of the Pioneers timeout. This put MidAmerica Nazarene on top, 64-63. The Pioneers held a one-point lead that was extended to two after a made free throw by Jacob French. The Bison's last-second three-point attempt did not fall, and MidAmerica Nazarene came away with a 68-66 win.
Rustin Dowd led way with a game-high 25 points on 9-of-14 from the field. Luke Thomas followed with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting. The Pioneers shot 51.6 percent from the floor in the second half.
Chase Adams scored 19 points for the Bison. Clinton Houston followed with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.
MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) -
- MidAmerica Nazarene moves to 2-0 all-time when playing in the championship second round. The Pioneers took down Oklahoma Baptist, 64-63, in 2009.
- The Pioneers improve to 5-2 all-time in two championship events.
- In the all-time series with Oklahoma Baptist, MNU is 2-3 overall.
- Rustin Dowd's 25 points is three-shy of a season high. He had 28 against Central Methodist (Mo.) on Feb. 2. It is his 10th game this year of 20 or more.
- The Pioneers lead the NAIA in field-goal percentage (0.521), but they struggled today. They went 25-for-58 for 43.1 percent.
Oklahoma Baptist Notes:
- No. 10 Oklahoma Baptist earned their 59th overall win in the NAIA National Championship with an 83-73 win over Arizona Christian on Thursday night. David Johnson led the Bison with 18 points.
- OBU earned an at-large bid for their 26th appearance in the tourney after putting together a 24-7 overall record on the 2012-13 campaign. They dropped their Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament opener to Oklahoma City, after finishing runner up to John Brown University with a 12-4 regular season league mark.
- The loss drops OBU to 59-23 in tournament play.
- Tonight was just the fifth second round loss on Oklahoma Baptist's record, which now stands at 17-5. Their 2007 win came by way of forfeit after Robert Morris (Ill.) was forced to vacate their tournament run that year.
- With just over a minute remaining in the contest, Oklahoma Baptist and MidAmerica Nazarene found themselves in the same position as the end of the squad's second round meeting in 2009 - MNU leading 64-63.
- Oklahoma Baptist was the last representative of the Sooner Athletic Conference in the 2013 tournament. The conference ends the tournament 2-4.
- Clinton Houston picked up the 22nd double-double of the 2013 NAIA DI Men's Basketball National Championship, his 4th of the year.
- Oklahoma Baptist has a record total of eight appearances in the championship game, with wins in 1966 (88-59 over Georgia Southern) and 2010 (84-83 over Azusa Pacific).
- The Bison have the same overall record in championship appearances as the STATE of West Virginia.
- Oklahoma Baptist University shot 56.5 percent from the free throw line, below their 70.3 percent season average and their third-lowest percentage of the season. The Bison twice mustered just 50 percent from the line on the year, but were able to make up for it with better shooting elsewhere. OBU shot 13-of-26 against Benedictine (Kan.) in a 54-51 win on Nov. 20, holding the Ravens to 16.7 percent. They also shot 13-of-26 in a 71-61 win over St. Gregory's (Okla.) on Jan. 31, but shot 52 percent from the floor.
- After holding a 20-point cushion in points in the paint in its first-round contest, Oklahoma Baptist found themselves with a eight-point deficit in Friday's game.
- Among active NAIA members, Oklahoma Baptist has the second-most total appearances in the NAIA National Championship, with 26. They trail only Georgetown (Ky.), who has 32 - including 22 consecutive appearances.