By Chad Waller | NAIA Staff
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Box score) Defending national champion and No. 14 seed Georgetown (Ky.) advances to its 12th NAIA National Championship Second Round since 2000 with a 97-90 triumph over Wayland Baptist (Texas) Wednesday evening in the first round of the 2014 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship in Municipal Auditorium. Senior guard Monty Wilson finished with 39 points, on 10-of-16 shooting, to lead the way for the Tigers. The point total was the most in a national championship tournament game since 2012.
"Monty Wilson has had some pretty good games in this gym and he stepped up tonight making big free throws and big plays," said Georgetown head coach Chris Briggs. "The first game out here is always the toughest and you’re getting used to the daily grind and you have to get comfortable.
“We got stops when we needed to and obviously our defense needs to improve if we plan to advance. There was too many times where they just outhustled us. I think it comes with rhythm and getting back to playing games. We did a good job with their field goal percentage in the first half and kept them down.”
After Georgetown took a quick 6-5 lead at the 18:09 mark, the Pioneers rattled off a 13-4 run to capture a 19-9 advantage. That was the biggest lead of the game for either team. Bunja Yaboe posted four points during that run.
But the Tigers rallied to hold a 45-40 lead at the half. Shooting was a key for Georgetown as the club went 18-of-36 from the field (.500) while Wayland Baptist connected on 14-of-37 shots (.378).
The second half featured a back-and-forth contest with nine ties and six lead changes.
With the score tied at 79 at the 4:39 mark, the teams traded 3-point baskets. Then, a trey by Royal Crouch of Wayland Baptist again knotted the score at 85-85. That was the final tie of the game. At that point, Georgetown's Deondre McWhorter made a basket and the Tigers would finish the contest on a 12-5 run.
Wilson, who reached a season-high 40 points earlier this year on Nov. 15, 2013 against Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), rattled in 27 points in the second half. With the score tied at 70-70 with about seven-and-a-half minutes remaining, Wilson went on a 9-0 run by himself to push the Tigers out in front 79-72. He added five assists and four rebounds.
McWhorter and Noah Cottrill each finished with 15 points for Georgetown.
Markus Monroe led the way for the Pioneers with 26 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. Crouch complimented Monroe with 25 points and eight boards.
Georgetown held a 23-15 advantage in free throw points.
The Tigers face the winner of No. 3 William Carey (Miss.) and Philander Smith (Ark.) on Friday at 4:30 p.m. CDT in the Second Round.
“This team and especially this group of seniors has been at this," commented Wayland Baptist head coach Matt Garnett. "Our goal was to get back here and they were able to accomplish that. It’s something that wasn’t easy to accomplish, but they were so resilient through the whole journey and I think you saw that tonight. They wanted to come here and play well.”
Wayland Baptist finishes its season with a record of 23-11.
Wayland Baptist– The Pioneers came into the game ranked No. 3 in the NAIA in total rebounds per game (44.63) - tonight the team had 40... This was WBU’s first national tournament appearance since 2008 when they lost 84-71 to Mountain State (W.Va.) in the second round... This was WBU’s second first round loss in the tournament in its last five tournament appearances... 97 points allowed was the third-highest total given up this year -- 111 points was the highest by an opponent on Feb. 20... Royal Crouch scored a season high 25, and it was just the fourth time he has scored at least 20 points this season.
Georgetown – Georgetown owns the most all-time appearances in the history of the tournament (33) and is appearing in the event for the 23rd-straight year... The Tigers have won four-straight first round games and six-straight games overall in the championship... Monty Wilson, the 2013 Most Valuable Player, averaged 20.2 points in last year’s tournament... The 39 points by Wilson was the most for an individual in the postseason since PJ Meyers of Life (Ga.) knocked in 43 points in a loss on March 14, 2012... Georgetown leads NAIA Division I in rebound margin (10.6) and is No. 2 in rebounds per game (44.1)