KANSAS CITY, Mo. - (Box score; video) LSU Shreveport will be making its first-ever quarterfinal-round appearance at the 2012 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship after posting a 84-71 victory Southern Poly on Friday afternoon at Municipal Auditorium.
"This is our eighth consecutive appearance in the tournament and our program is only nine years old," said LSU Shreveport Coach Chad McDowell. "We've done some great things in the past, and this team has taken what has been built and turned it into something special."
Senior guard Greg Shyne scored a career-high 32 points on 9-of-14 shooting for the #12-seeded Pilots, who will take on the winner of #4 Concordia (Calif.) and Montana Western on Saturday, March 17 at 4:00 p.m. (CDT). Derrick Parker added 22 points and 12 rebounds for his 23rd double-double of the season, while Mark Politte and Cody Walker had 12 points apiece.
Shyne hit the first of his two three-point shots 3:31 into the game and kicked off an 18-3 scoring stretch that covered 4:15 and gave the Pilots a 22-10 advantage. The lead grew to as much as 20 points before Southern Poly answered with 10-straight points to halve the deficit.
Five different Pilots scored inside the first five minutes of the second half, and Cody Walker tallied a free throw to balloon the lead back up to 18 points. The Hornets were unable to cut the deficit below double digits the rest of the way to suffer the 7th second-round loss at the national tournament in the program's history.
The Pilots shot 55.1 percent from the field, the second-best total thus far in the tournament, and converted 24-of-34 from the free throw line. Southern Poly hoisted 34 of its 66 field goal attempts from three-point range, but found the mark on just nine attempts.
Smith scored 22 points to lead the way for Southern Poly, which finished its season with a record of 25-7. Pitts added 12 points and 12 rebounds, C.J. McElrath tossed in 11 points, and Jesse Childs tallied 10 points.
LSU-Shreveport: The Pilots are ranked No. 7 in the NAIA in three-point field goal defense (.289) ... Derrick Parker ranks No. 1 in blocks per game (3.1), No. 1 in total blocks (101), No. 1 in total rebounds (378) and No. 3 in total rebounds per game (11.5) ... Parker improved his NAIA-leading double-double total to 23. ... Greg Shyne posted his fifth game this season with at least 10 made free throws.
Southern Poly: Southern Poly dropped to 10-15 all-time in the national tournament ... The Saints ranked first in the NAIA in steals per game (14.8), but were held 10 below their season average ... They also ranked No. 2 in three-point field goals per game (10.2) and No. 3 in turnover margin (+6.7) ... Two players ranked in the top 10 in steals per game - Bobby Smith is ranked No. 7 at 3.1 per game and Trey Payne is ranked No. 8 at 3.0 per game.