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Biola advances behind nationally ranked defense

March 14, 2012
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - (Box;video) Tenth-seeded Biola University (Calif.) advanced to the second round of the 2012 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship on Wednesday evening with a 69-57 victory over Campbellsville (Ky.) at Municipal Auditorium.

The Eagles ran their current winning streak to nine games and improved to 26-8 on the season, setting up a game on Friday, March 16 against the winner of #7 Our Lady of the Lake (Tex.) and Baker (Kan.), with tip-off scheduled for 4:30 p.m. (CST).

"We had to play well to beat them, said Biola coach, Dave Holmquist. "I was impressed with our defense, I and felt the guys did exactly what we asked them to out there. It was a good first game for us."

Andre Murillo led a balanced Biola scoring attack with 16 points, while Kaimarr Price tossed in 14 points to go along with 8 rebounds. Zack Zaragoza hit 3-of-5 three-point shots to finish with 12 points and 8 rebounds. Davey Hopkins chipped in 10 points and 8 rebounds on 5-of-6 shooting.

A back-and-forth opening stanza swung to the Biola side over the final four minutes as the Eagles held Campbellsville without a point during that stretch.  Junior forward Andre Murillo scored the final five points of the half to stretch a four-point cushion into a 29-20 halftime advantage.

An early three-pointer by the Tigers' Jordan Myers, with just 1:24 of the second half played, cut the Biola lead to 29-25. The Eagles responded with an 8-0 run capped off by two free throws by Andre Murillo over a stretch of 3:23, pushing the Biola lead into double digits at 37-25.

The Biola lead climbed to as much as 15 points near the midway point of the second half before Campbellsville's Justin Ennis hit consecutive shots from beyond the arc to help the Tigers close within six at 52-46 with 6:01 to play.

Biola was able to pull away with four free throws sandwiched around field goals by Davey Hopkins and Murillo, respectively, to regain the double-digit cushion. The Eagles hit six free throws in the final 1:09 to seal the victory.

"It was a good season. I think we fell short of a great season," said Campbellsville coach Keith Adkins.  "I think there's a lot more we could have done, but anytime you get your two big-time goals (20 wins and an NAIA Tournament appearance), you have to be a little happy."

Justin Ennis scored a game-high 25 points to lead the offense for Campbellsville, which sees its season come to an end with an overall record of 21-12. Malik Thomas added 11 points and 5 rebounds for the Tigers, who were outrebounded, 39-20.

Game notes:

Biola - Biola is making its 19th appearance at the NAIA national tournament, its fourth in a row and 8th since 2000 ... With today's win, the Eagles are 24-18 overall at the national tournament and 14-5 in opening round games ... Biola is ranked nationally in the top ten in three defensive categories, including 2nd in total rebound margin, 3rd in total rebounding defense and 5th in scoring defense per game ... Head Coach Dave Holmquist is currently ranked second among active coaches in NAIA Division I with 842 wins.

Campbellsville - The Tigers were making their ninth tournament appearance and 5th in the last seven years ... With today's loss, the Tigers stand at 5-9 all time at the national tourney and 3-6 in opening round games ... Senior guard Cedric Henderson ranks in the top ten nationally in, including 2nd in steals per game and total steals, 5th in assists and 8th in total assists ... The Tigers as a team rank ninth nationally in total 3-point field goals made... Justin Ennis tied the school record for most 3-point attempts in a national tournament game with 11.