By Chad Waller | NAIA Staff
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Box score) Despite a subpar shooting effort, No. 6 Vanguard (Calif.) out-lasted No. 11 Benedictine (Kan.), 81-70, in the second round of the 2014 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National, Friday night in Municipal Auditorium. The Lions, who will play in their first-ever Quarterfinal tomorrow against No. 14 Georgetown (Ky.) at 4 p.m. CDT, went 25-of-67 (.373) from the floor overall. Their key was 16 points off turnovers.
Benedictine led early, 9-4, after a Jallen Messersmith free throw, but Vanguard bumped up the defensive focus. After three early field goals, Benedictine made just four more during the final 14 minutes of the first half. Meanwhile, during that span, Vanguard turned the five-point deficit into a 31-19 halftime advantage.
“The key for us was pressure," said Vanguard head coach Rhett Soliday. "We wanted to pick up full court and get up in the floor a little bit to disrupt their offense. We knew they were a team that is really organized and very difficult to stop when they can get to the middle of the floor like you saw in the second half.”
The Ravens had no answer for DeAngelo Jones on the Vanguard offensive end. Jones almost out-scored Benedictine by himself in the first 20 minutes as he went for 15 points.
The Ravens tried to use the loud crowd, decked in Black and Red, to rally back from the double-digit deficit. At least seven bus loads of fans traveled the nearly 50 miles to Municipal Auditorium. But, Vanguard used its balanced scoring to never let the lead shrink under seven in the second half.
Seven free throws in the final minute for Vanguard iced the game away.
Jones ended his night with a game-high 25 points as he connected on 15-of-18 free throws. The made free throws ties a tournament-high this year. Preston Wynne chipped in 20 points, while Chris Gorman and Keith Mason each had 11.
For the Ravens, Charlie Wallrapp heated up in the second half to the tune of 17 points. He posted totals of 21 points and 11 rebounds. John Harris Jr., joined him with a 20-point effort.
Both teams made 24 free throws, with Vanguard hitting on 75 percent and Benedictine going for 73 percent.
“We always fight," said Benedictine head coach Ryan Moody. "This group has never gone away or stopped and our body language doesn’t get bad at games. We always try to keep ourselves in it and they’re a competitive group. This stings and it’s tough to lose the last one of the year only one team doesn’t.
Benedictine, in the championship for the first time since 1970, its season with a record of 23-9.
Vanguard (Calif.) - This is the first appearance in the championship since 2006 and second overall... The Lions help the Golden State Athletic Conference teams improve to 3-1 this year... The Lions entered the game ranked No. 8 in the NAIA in offensive rebounds per game (14.4) - tonight, they had 14...With 25 points, DeAngelo Jones has now put in at least 10 points in five of his last six games.
Benedictine (Kan.) - Benedictine was held to a season-low four three-point shots after averaging 7.7 per game on the season... Charlie Wallrapp recorded his sixth double-double of the season and finished his four-year career with 1,422 points... Benedictine won its first-ever Heart of America Athletic Conference regular season title this season to end its 44-year drought at the National Championship... The Ravens shot 22.2 percent from three-point range after entering the game ranked No. 4 in NAIA Division I in three-point percentage (.407).