By Matt Bos, NAIA Media Coordinator
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – (Box Score )- Another top seed falls as Robert Morris (Ill.) sends no. 3 Indiana University Southeast home with a 71-66 win in the second round of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship.
Trailing by two (66-64), Robert Morris closed the game on a 7-0 run over the final three-plus wins to earn the upset win. A basket by Eagles’ forward Courtney Jones tied the game at 66 and after both teams came up empty on their next offensive possessions, Jordan Hester hit the go-ahead three-pointer from the top of the key with 25 seconds left to play. IU Southeast’s attempt at a game-tying three-pointer was off the mark and Jones controlled the rebound, was fouled and iced the game with a pair of free throws.
The game was characterized by long, extended scoring runs, especially over the first 25 minutes of the game. IU Southeast started the game off with a 7-0 run but went scoreless for nearly five minutes as Robert Morris began a 32-2 to open up a 32-9 advantage in the later stages of the first half. The Grenadiers, however, outscored RMU 19-5 over the final seven minutes to cut the deficit to 37-28 by the break.
IU Southeast extended its run in the second half, scoring the first nine points for its first lead since the opening minutes of the game. From there, the lead switched hands 11 times over the final 17 minutes.
Robert Morris shot 36% from the field but fared much better from beyond the arc, shooting 44% (8-of-18). Kashune McKinney led the Eagles with 18 points while Jarrell Turner recorded a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Jones was also in double figures with 10.
IU Southeast shot 47% for the game and 64% in the second half. Vernon Payne scored a game-high 21 points and Kevin Mitchell netted 17. The Grenadiers’ season comes to a close with a 26-5 overall record.
Robert Morris moves on with a 25-9 record and will play either no. 11 St. Thomas (Fla.) or William Penn (Iowa) in the final quarterfinal game on Saturday at 7pm.