By Eric Montgomery, NAIA Staff
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Box score) No. 3-seeded William Carey (Miss.) concluded the first day of play at the2014 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championshipwith a 109-92 win over Philander Smith (Ark.) in Municipal Auditorium. The Crusaders will meet Georgetown (Ky.) in second round action on Friday, March 21 at 4:30 p.m. CDT
All 11 players who took the floor in the game scored for William Carey, led by Jeremiah Dunnings and Kelvin Nixon with 21 points apiece. Daron Bell delivered 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Crusaders, while Donovan Walker chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds.
William Carey (28-2) scored the first seven points of the game and jumped out to an 18-6 lead after just 4:36 had elapsed. Dunnings hit a trio of three-pointers in the opening sequence and finished the game five of seven from three-point range as the Crusaders led by as much as 22 points in the first half.
“We found out last year how you start the game is very important,” said William Carey head coach Steve Knight. “We learned from that experience last year and we came out ready.”
It was more of the same in the second half for William Carey, which stretched its lead to its greatest advantage at 102-72 with 3:37 to play after a three-pointer by Guy Payne. The Crusaders shot 58.1 percent in the second half (18 of 31) that included six of nine from three-point range. Philander Smith connected on just 11 of 35 field goals (.314) in the opening stanza and finished the game shooting 39.5 percent from the field.
The teams had nearly identical numbers in regards to bench scoring and points in the paint. William Carey held slim margins in both categories, edging out a 46-44 advantage in bench scoring while claiming a 46-42 edge in points in the paint. The Panthers grabbed 25 offensive rebounds in the game and posted 18 second chance points.
The Crusaders forced 14 turnovers in the first half and scored 24 points off takeaways in the contest. Bell led the defensive effort with four steals with seven players recording at least one theft in the game.
“We were so wound up to begin with and (William Carey) got off on some early runs,” said Philander Smith head coach Sam Weaver. “We did not execute well, either, and William Carey relaxed first. I told our guys that the first team that relaxes first and plays their game will be successful, and they happened to relax first.”
Six players scored in double figures for the Panthers, with Brodrick Brandon leading the way with 16 points to go along with five rebounds. Juvon Demerson posted 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds while Teviin Morris also had a double-double with 10 points and 11 assists.
Philander Smith finishes its season with a record of 20-12.
William Carey– The Crusaders improved to 2-8 all-time to snap a six-game, first-round losing streak … The program’s last first round win came in 1984, a 90-74 win over Missouri Western … The 109 points is the highest in a tournament game since MidAmerica Nazarene tallied the same total in a first round game last season … The No. 3 seed is the highest in team history, besting the previous high of No. 12 in last year’s event … The Crusaders increased their current winning streak to 22 games, matching Cal State San Marcos for the longest active streak on the year.
Philander Smith – The Panthers dropped to 0-2 all-time at the national championship, losing their inaugural game in the tournament last season to Montana Western … Philander Smith allowed at least 100 points for the seventh time this season … Juvon Demerson recorded his fifth double-double of the season … The Panthers connected on 15 free throws for the fifth-straight game to conclude the season.