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Oklahoma Baptist Dances into the Fab Four

March 17, 2012
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - (Box score) No. 2 Oklahoma Baptist advances to its second semifinal in the last three years after a 67-56 triumph over No. 10 Biola (Calif.) in the 2012 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship. The Bison took the victory by holding Biola to 19 points in the first-half and 26 percent shooting.

Oklahoma Baptist hangs its hat on defense as the Bison rank in the top five nationally in scoring defense at less than 63 points allowed. The Eagles connected on just six field goals in the first 20 minutes and went scoreless for a four-minute stretch.

"We had a really good first half, but we were in foul trouble," said Oklahoma Baptist head coach Doug Tolin. "We have to adjust to the officiating and be smarter. (Sooner Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year) Derick Echols did a really good job. He took that charge late and got a big rebound for us when we weren't getting any rebounds. This is a great group of kids. I hope it continues a little bit longer."

Emmanuel Wilson scored six of Oklahoma Baptist's eight points during a 21-10 run to start the game. The Bison lead grew to 16 before settling on a 33-19 lead at the break. Wilson netted 11 points, and the defense forced eight turnovers.

The Bison appeared headed to an easy win at the 14:01 mark in the second half. Back-to-back 3-pointer's by Wilson and Heath McKay put Oklahoma Baptist up 51-30. But, Biola wanted to become the second Golden State Athletic Conference team to advance to the Fab Four and the Eagles had one last burst. Fellow GSAC member Concordia (Calif.) took down LSU Shreveport earlier in the day.

Biola's Zack Zaragoza sparked a 17-3 run to cut the deficit to seven at 54-47 with 6:28 remaining. Davey Hopkins kept Biola in it after his basket at the 3:15 mark. At that point, the score was in favor of Oklahoma Baptist, 56-51.

The Bison made seven free throws in the final three minutes to head to their ninth Fab Four in school history. They made 42 percent of their shots (25-of-59) and forced 14 turnovers. Wilson finished with 20 points, Jacobi Isham had 14 and Derick Echols snared 10 rebounds.

Biola's Davey Hopkins recorded 18 points and seven rebounds to lead the team. Given Kalipinde went for 13 points and nine rebounds.

"Last night was a great win, but it took a lot out of us," said Biola head coach Dr. Dave Holmquist. "I was glad we had a lengthy stretch where we could make some things happen. We just couldn't score or make a basket for most of the game. We got some momentum, but we just couldn't finish the comeback."

Game notes:
Biola - Biola was eliminated in the quarterfinal round for the sixth time in its 19 national tournament appearances and third season in a row ... The Eagles also lost in the 2010 quarterfinals to Oklahoma Baptist, 59-54 ... Biola now has an all-time record of 25-19 in national tournament play ... The Eagles were 0-4 in games this season when scoring 56 points or less.

Oklahoma Baptist - Oklahoma Baptist is making its 25th appearance in the national tournament and ninth trip to the Fab Four ... The Bison improved their all-time record in the national tournament to 57-21, the most wins by any program in the history of the event ... Oklahoma Baptist has now held 15 opponents to less than 60 points this season, winning each of those contests ... The Bison have 30 or more wins for the fourth time since 2003-04.