KANSAS CITY, Mo. - (Box score) The clash between the nation's highest scoring offense and the NAIA's fifth-ranked defense resulted in an overtime thriller in the second round of the 2012 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship. No. 10-seeded Biola (Calif.) came back from a 10-point deficit with seven minutes remaining in regulation to force overtime and take a 94-90 victory over high-powered No. 7 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) on Friday.
Biola will play either Columbia (Mo.) or Oklahoma Baptist on Saturday at 6 p.m. in a quarterfinal battle.
"That was a wonderful win for us," Biola head coach Dave Holmquist said. "I have coached so many games over my 35 years. I've forgotten a lot of them, but this has to be one of the 10 games I have enjoyed the most."
The Eagles scored the first six points of the overtime period, beginning with a put back from star of the game, Davey Hopkins. The 6-foot-5 junior guard would then score a bucket at the 3:14 mark of overtime to give Biola an 89-84 cushion. A pair of Robert Martinez free throws brought the Saints to within 90-88 with 1:00 left. But two free throws each from Hopkins and Kaimarr Price, and two empty possessions from Our Lady of the Lake, gave Biola a commanding 94-88 lead with 12 seconds remaining.
"We have to give Biola credit. They have a lot of experience in this tournament, and they had to do everything basically right to keep us out of the round of eight and that's what they did tonight," Our Lady of the Lake head coach Russell Vanlandingham said. "We missed some critical free throws. We didn't lose the game; they won the game. This is our first experience out here, and I think we showed we belong."
The Saints and junior point guard Josh Orta missed an opportunity to win the game in regulation after Hopkins' two clutch free throws tied the score at 84 with :06 remaining. The inbounds went to Orta, who tried to penetrate the Biola defense but ran into a wall at the 3-point line and couldn't pull the trigger before the buzzer sounded.
The Saints, who entered the tournament averaging an NAIA-best 100.3 points per game, appeared to be in control late in the second half when a Lo'Ron Smith basket gave them a 77-67 advantage with only 7:11 to go. Our Lady of the Lake maintained a nine-point lead at the 3:08 mark after a Marco Cooper free throw. But Biola finished regulation with an 8-1 run, capped by Hopkins' overtime-forcing free throws.
Hopkins finished with a game-high and career-high 31 points. He also added team highs in rebounds (10) and assists (6) for a program making its fourth-straight appearance at the national tournament.
Martinez, who tied a tournament record with 10 3-pointers in the Saints' 103-88 first-round win over Baker (Kan.) on Wednesday, was held to 14 points on 4-for-12 shooting on Friday. Marco Cooper led Our Lady of the Lake with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Four Eagles other than Hopkins posted double-figures in scoring: Chase Adams (19), Price (17), Andre Murillo (12) and Zack Zaragoza (11).
Biola improved to 27-8 on the season and 25-18 all-time in 19 appearances at the national tournament. Our Lady of the Lake ends its season at 27-8 overall after going 1-1 in its first-ever appearance at the National Championship.
Biola - Biola has advanced to at least the second round in 14 of its 19 national tournament appearances and will be competing in its third-straight quarterfinal round ... The Eagles are now 25-18 all-time in the national tournament ... Biola picked up its first win in three all-time overtime games at the national tournament ... The Eagles rank No. 2 in the NAIA in rebound margin (plus-9.8) and No. 5 in scoring defense (62.0) ... Biola allowed 90 points for the first time since giving up 105 to Redlands (Calif.) on Nov. 25, 2006.
Our Lady of the Lake - Our Lady of the Lake advanced to the second round of the national tournament in just the third season of the program's existence ... The Saints led the NAIA in eight categories this season, including 3-point field goals per game (12.5), assists per game (20.5), scoring offense (100.4) and turnover margin (8.8) ... Tonight's loss was just the third this season when the Saints scored at least 90 points ... Junior guard Josh Orta registered his sixth game of the season with at least 10 assists ... Junior guard Robert Martinez finished the season with a school-record 108 3-point field goals made.