Midland Rolls Over Robert Morris To Advance To Title Game
By Matt Bos, NAIA Media Coordinator
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – (Box Score) Tuesday’s championship game is set as No. 10 Midland (Neb.) rolled past Robert Morris (Ill.) 100-61 in the second semifinal game of the NAIA Division II National Championship. The 2014 event is being played at the Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo.
The win puts Midland in its first ever national championship game and its 39-point win is the largest ever in the national semifinals.
Ben Imig scored a game-high 27 points and dished out seven assists to lead Midland. Three other players also scored in double figures for the Warriors, who shot 60% for the game, 68% (16-for-24) in the second half. Midland was just as good from the three-point line, draining 8-of-15 (53%) from downtown.
“I’m just been so happy with our energy level and the focus in which our guys have carried throughout these championship games,” said head coach Todd Eisner. “We knew what we needed to do defensively early to frustrate Robert Morris and we really executed that well.”
Midland took control of the game early with a 12-0 run in which five different players put points on the board. The Warriors defensively held Robert Morris to just one field goal over the first six minutes of the game.
Trailing 16-2, Robert Morris fought their way back and after a basket by Jordan Hester, found themselves down seven (18-11) at the 11-minute mark. Midland, however, pushed the lead back up to 13 after consecutive three-pointers by Galen Gullie and Avery Langford and followed with a 14-8 run to close the half to take a 46-28 lead into the break.
Midland began the second half with an 8-0 surge and later went on a 14-4 run to extend the lead to 40 (74-34) with 13 minutes left. Imig scored six points while Langford and Jalen Hueser both knocked down a three-pointer during the game-clinching run. Midland held a 30-plus point advantage the rest of the way.
Alex Starkel chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds and both Gullie (13) and Jordon Flynn (10) were also in double figures. Midland held a sizable advantage on the glass (46-30) led by Starkel (7) and Franklin (6).
“Ben [Imig] has been outstanding, Galen [Gullie] has been really solid and I think we’ve all watched Alex [Starkel] grow up this year especially here at the National Championship,” he added. “We’ve had great production over the first four games and need to bring it for one more game tomorrow night.”
Robert Morris was led by Jarrell Turner with 14 points and Sean Montgomery put in 10. Courtney Bell added seven points and a game-high 10 rebounds for the Eagles, who were held to a 36% field goal percentage and 18% (4-for-22) from the three-point line. They end the season with a 26-10 record.
Midland, now 30-5 on the year, will play No. 5 Indiana Wesleyan in Tuesday’s national championship game with a 6:02 tip-off. The championship game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.