Second-Seeded Lindsey Wilson Downs MidAmerica Nazarene, 83-74
Kansas City, Mo. (Box Score) - No. 2 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) secured its first-ever semifinal round berth after claiming an 83-74 victory over MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship. The Blue Raiders will advance to play SAGU (Texas) on Monday at 6 p.m. CDT. The event is held at Municipal Auditorium.
Daronte' Clark hit 7-of-9 shots and finished with 21 points to go along with eight rebounds for Lindsey Wilson while Kalen Kimberland added 20 points, three rebounds and three assists. Wesley Hanspard chipped in with nine points. and Darren Ballou matched Clark with a team-high eight rebounds.
"Tonight we played more like the team we have been all year leading up to the tournament," said Lindsey Wilson head coach Paul Peck. We were aggressive on both ends of the court from the outset. Everyone played well and contributed in such a positive way, whether it was offense or defense. It was a true team win."
Lindsey Wilson (32-4) took control of the game from the opening tip, scoring the first eight points of the game thanks to a three-pointer by Kimberland and a three-point play by Hanspard sandwiched around a jumper by Clark. MNU responded and battled their way back to level terms thanks to a 20-12 stretch to the 6:56 mark of the first half. Jacob French and Conner Langrehr combined for 18 of the 20 points with Langrehr providing all eight of his points on the night over 10:31.
The Blue Raiders regained the momentum and finished the half with a 13-2 run to take an 11-point lead into the break. Clark finished off a period of 13-straight points with a three-pointer before Luke Thomas posted the final field goal of the half for the Pioneers.
Lindsey Wilson charged out of halftime the way they started the game, tallying seven-straight points to start the second period for their biggest lead of the night, 41-22. The Blue Raiders continued to hold the lead in double digits, except for two occasions inside the final 2:00. The Pioneers twice cut the deficit to eight, but each instance was countered on the next possession before Tyler Thomas hit a late jumper for the final margin.
"We just couldn't handle their offense," said MNU head coach Rocky Lamar. "When you can't stop their screens and they hit the shots, it's hard to deal with. We're so proud of seniors Jacob French and Rustin Dowd. They gave it everything they had."
Lindsey Wilson shot 56.7 percent in the second half and finished 29-of-60 (.483) from the field, including a 7-of-16 clip (.438) from three-point range. The Blue Raiders also connected on 18-of-23 free throws for the game, with 14 of those coming in the final stanza. MNU also had a strong second half shooting line at 16-of-28 (.571), but was just 8-of-28 (.286) in the first half.
French finished his career with a personal-best 32 points on 9-of-15 shooting while converting 14-of-15 free throws for the Pioneers. Dowd tossed in 15 points, while Luke Thomas tallied nine points and six rebounds off the bench for MNU.
MidAmerica Nazarene ends its season at 26-9.
Lindsey Wilson - The Blue Raiders improved to 9-10 all-time in the Division I Men's Basketball Championship and picked up their first-ever quarterfinal victory after falling in two previous attempts in 2006 and 2004 ... Lindsey Wilson is one of three first-time participants in the last four, joining LSU Shreveport and SAGU with that distinction ... The matchup with SAGU on Monday sets up a pair of Mid-South Conference vs. Red River Athletic Conference showdowns, with fellow Mid-South member Georgetown taking on LSU Shreveport ... The Blue Raiders moved to 24-2 this season when scoring at least 70 points.
MidAmerica Nazarene - The Pioneers fell to 5-3 all-time in the tournament and moved to 1-1 in the quarterfinal round ... MNU head coach Rocky Lamar finishes the season with 629 career wins, good for 10th on the NAIA men's basketball active coaches' list ... The Pioneers' Rustin Dowd finished his four-year career at MNU with 2,163 points ... Jacob French moved his scoring average in the national tournament to 16.8 points in four career games after tallying 19.0 points in this year's event ... The 14 free throws by French was a single-game tournament high for this year's event.