By Matt Bos, NAIA Media Coordinator
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. - (Box Score)— No. 8 Bellevue (Neb.) scored the final five points in earning an 81-78 win over Concordia (Ore.) in the final game of day one at the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship. The 2014 event is being played at the Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo.
Trailing 78-76 after a basket by Concordia forward Adam Herman with 26 seconds remaining, Bellevue needed some late game heroics to earn the win. Given Kalipinde converted an old-fashioned three-point play to give the Bruins the lead (79-78) and then the senior hit two free throws after boarding a missed Concordia go-ahead jumper with just over one second left.
Five Bellevue players scored in double figures, led by Kalipinde and Thomas Hammock with 15 points each. Lee Ames and Michael Dotson both scored 12 and Taylor Young added 11 coming off the Bruins’ bench. Bellevue shot 48% for the game.
With the game tied at 29 late in the first half, Bellevue went on the game’s first substantial run (14-3) to take a 43-32 lead into the break.
A three-pointer by Hammock put the Bruins in front by 13 (49-36) but Concordia scored the next 12 points and trailed by one after a lay-up by Willy Ligon. Bellevue answered with an 8-2 surge and held a two possession lead over the next few minutes until the Cavaliers scored four straight to tie the game at 69. The game was again tied at 75 when Concordia went ahead by two, setting up the late game heroics by the Bruins.
Concordia shot nearly 60% in the second half, 52% for the game. Herman led the Cavaliers with 22 points while his teammate, Esvan Middleton tallied 18 points and 13 rebounds. Making its second overall and first national championship appearance since 2000, Concordia closes the year with a 22-10 overall mark.
Bellevue improves to 29-5 and will play No. 9 Davenport (Mich.) in a second round match-up on Friday, March 14 at 10:15am.