By Matt Bos, NAIA Media Coordinator
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – (Box Score) Southeastern (Fla.) earned the first spot in Monday’s semifinal as they hold off no. 9 Davenport (Mich.) 67-74 in the quarterfinals of the 2014 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.
Playing in its first ever Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship, Southeastern defeated its third straight seeded team to reach the Fab Four.
Dwayne Johnson scored 24 points to the lead the Fire, his third straight 20+-point game. Timothy Mitchell put in 12 points and pulled down 16 rebounds, the second-highest total of the 2014 Championship. Jake Hodges was also in double figures with 11, going 3-for-5 from beyond the arc.
Southeastern began the game with a pair of three-pointers and an old-fashioned three-point play to open up a 9-2 lead. A 13-2 Davenport run put the Panthers in front briefly (15-11) after a three-pointer by Mike Betcher and a jumper by John McCloud. Southeastern, however, closed the half on 19-4 run and held Davenport without a field goal for nearly the final 10 minutes. The Fire led 30-19 at the break.
Southeastern continued to pull away in the early stages of the second half, stretching its lead to as much as 24 (47-23) on a lay-in by Johnson and seemingly had the game in hand.
With the game on the line and trailing by 18 with 7:42 left to play, Davenport stormed back with a 23-5 run and tied the game at 62 following two free throws by Dominez Burnett at the two-minute mark.
The Panthers never did take the lead, however, and a pair of free throws by Mitchell put Southeastern up for good, 64-62. Davenport made it a one-point game on a free throw by Burnett and after a Panthers’ stop, had a couple of chances to grab the lead but missed on three straight scoring chances. Southeastern controlled the rebound and made 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
Southeastern shot 42% for the game while Davenport went 36% from the field, 29% (6-for-21) from the three-point line. Both teams had 41 rebounds.
Davenport was led by Burnett with 19 points and eight rebounds while JaVontae Ford added 16. The Panthers close the year with a 29-7 record.
Southeastern will play either no. 5 Indiana Wesleyan or Friends (Kan.) in the first semifinal on Monday, March 17 at 6pm.