Kansas City, Mo. - Hope International was successful in its first-ever game at the 2013 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship, posting a 80-62 win over 16th-seeded Emmanuel (Ga.). The Royals will advance to the second round and play the winner of Columbia (Mo.)/Oklahoma City on Friday, March 15 at 6:15 p.m. CDT. The event is held at Municipal Auditorium.
Jeremy Kilgore tallied 20 points, five rebounds and four assists to lead Hope International while Orlando Collins added 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Austin Sanford registered 15 points and a game-high 16 rebounds, and Kris Rosales collected 10 points, nine assists and five rebounds.
"The HIU men had a great week of practice," said Hope International head coach Bill Czech. "They have been working extremely hard and unselfish. They are making the team-first sacrifice."
The Royals (26-7) took control of the game from the opening tip, scoring the first 14 points and holding the Lions without a field goal until Michael Stanley scored the first of back-to-back buckets at the 11:27 mark. The Royals carried a 13-point lead into halftime and led by as much as 22 points late in the second half.
The Lions made their best attempt at a comeback over parts of both halves. They trimmed a 19-point deficit over the final 3:42 of the first half to 13 and closed within eight points at the 18:01 mark. However, the Royals withstood the charge and led by double digits for the final 13:50.
"We stayed to our game plan and that is what won us the game," said Sanford. Even though Emmanuel made some big shots and got to the basket, we kept our composure and did not give in."
Hope International shot 56.3 percent (18-of-32) in the first half and finished the game 32-of-59 overall (.542) from the field. Emmanuel was limited to just 36.1 percent shooting (22-of-61) for the game and made one of its 12 three-point attempts.
"We played a little big-eyed," said Emmanuel head coach T.J. Rosene. "That wasn't my team out there. That wasn't who we were for a 28-4 record and that wasn't the way we've been playing."
Michael Stanley led all scorers with 23 points to go along with a team-best eight rebounds for Emmanuel, but was the only member of his team to finish in double figures. Patrick McCrary tallied nine points and eight rebounds
Emmanuel ends its season at 28-5.
Hope International - The Royals made eight of their first 11 shots in the game and forced 14 turnovers in the first half ... The 18-point margin of victory matched the largest of the day and was the biggest by a Golden State Athletic Conference member since Concordia (Calif.) claimed a 19-point win over LSU Shreveport in the 2012 quarterfinals ... The Royals' Austin Sanford recorded his fifth double-double of the season and included a career-high rebounding total.
Emmanuel - The Lions were making their third appearance in the tournament ... Emmanuel made its first 16 free throws in the game before finishing 17-of-20 ... The Lions averaged just 13.0 turnovers per game this season, but committed 14 turnovers in the first half and 17 for the game ... The 13-point halftime deficit was the largest this season for Emmanuel.