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Shorter Shoots Its Way into the Quarterfinals

March 16, 2012
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - (Box score; video) Top-seeded Shorter (Ga.) used hot shooting to score a 92-77 victory against No. 16 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) this morning at the 75th Anniversary of the 2012 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship. The Hawks will take on No. 9 Rogers State (Okla.) on Saturday in the quarterfinals at 2 p.m. CDT. The event is being played at Municipal Auditorium.

Shorter coach Chad Warner was asked about the team's championship success in its first-ever appearance.

"We are excited. I feel like each game has been such a challenge. We're trying to stay focused and have fun but we're trying to stay aggressive in everything we do as well. "

The Hawks continued to scorch the nets. After hitting on 59 percent of their shots in their first round victory on Wednesday, the Hawks went 51 percent overall (27-of-53). Besides shooting well, they also dominated two areas statistically, rebounding (43-29) and a 33-17 scoring advantage from the foul line.

Point Loma Nazarene's Greg Murray hit on the game's first two points to give the Sea Lions their only lead of the game. From that point, it was all Shorter, who has now defeated its last six opponents on the year by at least 10 points. A 3-pointer by Eric Nix at the 1:55 mark handed the Hawks their largest lead of the first half, 33-22. Three free throws by Wil Bush brought the Sea Lions to within a 33-25 score at intermission.

Walter Hill and Anthony Banks combined for 22 of Shorter's 33 first-half points.

 "They (Hill and Banks) are very good basketball players and one of our strengths is our depth," said Warner. "That has allowed us to have different guys step up on different nights. That's what we had today; those two came through for us."

Despite seven treys and 17 points from Marek Klassen in the second half, Point Loma Nazarene could not cut the gap to less than eight points. In fact, Shorter used a 13-4 run midway through, capped by two free throws by Banks, to put the game out of reach for the Sea Lions.

Klassen finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, to go along with four assists and three steals. Bush recorded 17 points, and Jake Johnston had 15. As a team, the Sea Lions shot 39 percent overall and went 28 percent (10-of-36) from 3-point land.

Banks notched a season-high 30 points on 11-of-16 shooting for the Hawks. He grabbed 15 rebounds. Hill and Nix ended up with 16 points apiece and Kenny Leverette added 11.

Point Loma Nazarene ends its season with a 21-10 record.

"I thought our guys fought hard," said Point Loma Nazarene head coach Bill Carr. "What a great year we had to have the chance to play the number one team in the country."

Game notes:
Point Loma Nazarene: The Sea Lions suffered a second-straight loss in the second round of the tournament, falling to Robert Morris (Ill.) in 2008 ... Point Loma Nazarene is now 5-9 all-time in its nine trips to the national tournament ... The Sea Lions entered the tournament ranked No. 6 in the NAIA in scoring defense (62.1 per game) and No. 9 in field goal percentage (.488) ... Point Loma Nazarene set a season high for three-point attempts with 36, breaking their previous high of 30 set against Vanguard (Calif.) on March 1 ... The 92 points was the most allowed by the Sea Lions this season.

Shorter: Shorter advanced to the quarterfinal round in its first-ever national tournament appearance ... The Hawks entered the national tournament ranked No. 3 in the NAIA in three-point field goal percentage (.386) and field goal percentage (.499) ... Senior guard Eric Nix ranks No. 3 in the NAIA in total assists (200) and No. 10 in assists per game (5.9) ... Through two games in this year's tournament, Shorter has converted 76 of 97 (.784) from the charity stripe ... With an average of 38 per game thus far, the Hawks are on pace to break the tournament record for most free throws made of 153 set by Southeastern Oklahoma State in 1957 if they were to advance to the championship game.