By Eric Montgomery | NAIA Staff
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Box score) Senior forward Josiah Campbell scored as time expired to lift unseeded St. Gregory’s (Okla.) to a 84-82 win over No. 10-seeded Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the 2014 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championshipin Municipal Auditorium. The Cavaliers will face the winner of Georgetown (Ky.) and Vanguard (Calif.) on Monday, March 24 at 6:00 p.m. CDT.
Campbell took a feed from Trey Jones and put the ball up off the glass uncontested from the right block just prior to the final horn. Freed-Hardeman tied the game for the third time in the final two minutes with six seconds to play on a putback by Kyle Teichmann, who combined with the Cavaliers’ Marty Wilkerson to score the final 12 points prior to the game-winning hoop. Jones drew the defense to himself with a pump-fake at the top of the key, creating room for Campbell to win the game.
“Our first option was to get it to Marty (Wilkerson), but that fell through so we got it into Trey Jones, our second option,” said St. Gregory’s head coach John Martin. “From there, the guys just executed.”
After trailing by as much as seven points in the second half, St. Gregory’s surged in front with a 13-3 run over 3:07 to take a 75-72 lead. The Cavaliers continued to lead by three with 3:01 left after a second-chance basket by Wilkerson, but Orlando Bass hit a free throw prior to Teichmann tying the game at the 1:54 mark.
The first half was played out in similar fashion to the first with the opening stanza providing four ties and five lead changes. Damion Wooten gave the Lions a six-point advantage at the 3:20 mark with a pair of free throws, but the Cavaliers finished the half with eight of the final nine points for a 36-35 halftime cushion.
St. Gregory’s (24-9) took advantage of 14 turnovers by Freed-Hardeman to claim a 15-5 edge in points off turnovers while committing just seven miscues of its own. The Lions dominated the glass, however, posting a 54-39 rebounding advantage that led to a 28-10 lead in second-chance points. Both teams shot 40 percent from the field for the game. St. Gregory’s had a 10-4 edge in three-point field goals, while Freed-Hardeman hit 26 free throws compared to 12 for the Cavaliers.
Wilkerson led all scorers with 32 points for St. Gregory’s, all of them coming in the second half, converting six of his 11 three-point shots. Tilford Thornton added 14 points and six rebounds, while Jones added 12 points and four assists. Jaron Vierra led the rebounding effort with 11 boards.
“These guys have had such a tremendous year, as far as how hard they’ve worked and given themselves an opportunity to be successful playing here in the national tournament,” said Freed-Hardeman head coach Jason Shelton. “They’re very talented, but really hard-working guys.”
Bass was one of two players to record a double-double for the Lions, tallying 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Teichmann finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Isaiah Harrison also chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Freed-Hardeman finishes its season with a record of 29-6, the most wins in program history.
St. Gregory’s– The Cavaliers picked up their 24th win for the first time since the 2004 season … SGU is the third team from the Sooner Athletic Conference to qualify for the Fab Four since 2012 … The Cavaliers hit at least 10 three-pointers for the ninth time this season … Marty Wilkerson scored at least 30 points for the fifth time this season.
Freed-Hardeman – The Lions trailed at the half in just three games this season, losing two of those contests … Bass and Teichmann are the sixth set of teammates to record a double-double in the same game during this year’s tournament … Teichmann finished as the all-time leading scorer at Freed-Hardeman with 2,272 points … Bass averaged 22.7 points and 7.0 rebounds in three games at this year’s tournament.