By Chad Waller | NAIA Staff
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Box score) Top-seed Cal State San Marcos survived a late charge by No. 16 Culver Stockton (Mo.) to win 92-91 in the Second Round of the 2014 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship Friday morning in Municipal Auditorium. De'End Parker recorded his 13th game of 20-plus points as he went 9-of-13 from the floor to finish with 20. The Cougars extend their win streak to 23-straight games, which is tops in the NAIA.
Cal State San Marcos, who is appearing in just its second National Championship, moves on to face No. 8 Emmanuel (Ga.) in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. CDT.
Culver-Stockton's CJ Adams had a chance at the free throw line to tie the game in the closing seconds. He attempted a 3-pointer with .06 seconds remained and was fouled. He made the first attempt at the charity stripe, but could not convert the second. After a time-out, his third try was the final point of the game.
“We did some dumb stuff down the stretch," said Cal State San Marcos Head Coach Jim Saia. "We ran a play and turned it over twice and then we didn’t run the clock out the way we should. On the other hand, we made some good plays today. That was a heck of a team out there. Culver Stockton is as good as any team in the country. They come from a great conference.”
Adams' effort was part of a furious comeback attempt by the Wildcats. Trailing 85-74 at the 5:11 mark, Mario Gulley connected on two lay-ups and Jonathan Miller put in four-straight points to cut the deficit to 85-82. Culver-Stockton would stay within five points of Cal State San Marcos within the final two minutes, but the top-ranked Cougars held on.
Early on, the game went in favor of Culver-Stockton as the Wildcats built a seven-point lead on four occasions, with the last coming at 32-25 with about seven minutes left in the first half. But, from that point, the Cougars went on a 18-5 run to close out the half.
That run proved pivotal for the Cougars as they never gave up the lead in the second half.
Parker was part of a group of five Cougars in double-figures. Jason Johnson totaled 17 points, Zack Zaragoza added 12 points and five rebounds, Quincy Lawson had 11 and Malcolm Lemmons recorded 10.
Cal State San Marcos held a 31-15 edge in bench points and shot 49.3 percent from the floor (35-of-71).
The Wildcats were led in scoring by James Johnson's 26 and Mario ¬Gulley's 21. Gulley also grabbed 11 rebounds. Culver-Stockton owned the glass with a 45-35 rebounding advantage.
“In a (national championship) tournament such as this, it is easy to mail it in when you fall behind by 10 or 12 points," said Culver-Stockton Head Coach Jack Schrader. "I challenged the guys during a timeout and they responded with a great effort to put themselves in a spot to win the game.”
Culver-Stockton finishes the season with a 24-8 record.
Cal State San Marcos … Outscored Culver-Stockton 31-15 off the bench while owning the paint 44-32. … CSSM entered play with the No. 2 3-point field goal defense at 28.6 and allowed C-SC to convert on 8 of 23 3-pointers. … The 20-point effort by De'End Parker is the 13th time he has scored 20 or more points this season. … Closed out first half outscoring C-SC 16-3 to take over lead and kept it entire second half.
Culver-Stockton … Outscored Cal State San Marcos 23-12 over a 6:02 stretch that erased a 12-point deficit in the second half to pull within 88-87 with 2:48 remaining. … James Johnson converted 3 of 8 3-pointers to extend his school record for career 3-pointers to 199. … The loss marks just the second time this season that C-SC has lost when scoring over 90 points. The previous loss came on Dec. 29 against Columbia (Mo.).