Kansas City, Mo. - (Box Score) No. 2 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) joined the group of Thursday winners at the 2013 Buffalo-Funds NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship, posting a 84-79 win over Rocky Mountain (Mont.). The Blue Raiders will advance to the second round and play the winner of Xavier (La.)/Faulkner (Ala.) on Friday at 9:45 p.m. CDT. The event is held at Municipal Auditorium.
Kalen Kimberland led all scorers with 24 points to go along with 11 rebounds and three assists to lead Lindsey Wilson (29-5). Chris Bridges came off the bench to contribute 13 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Daronte Clark chipped in 11 points, five rebounds and two steals.
"Kalen Kimberland was simply terrific tonight," said Lindsey Wilson head coach Paul Peck. "He's been here before, and we wanted the ball in his hands. I challenged him to be the best player on the court and he stepped up and led us to this win."
The teams traded the lead through the first 15 minutes of play before the Blue Raiders used a six-point surge to grab the lead and take a seven-point advantage into halftime. Lindsey Wilson shot just 33.3 percent (11-for-33) in the first half, but converted 9-of-13 free throws and forced 12 turnovers in the opening stanza.
With the lead down to four points early in the second half, Chris Bridges knocked down a three-pointer before DeAntra Scott followed with a bucket to push the advantage to nine. The Blue Raiders kept that cushion into the final minute and converted four late free throws to counter a pair of late three-pointers by Rocky Mountain.
Both offenses picked up in the second half as the teams combined to shoot 52.9 percent from the field, with the Bears making 8-of-18 three-point shots. The Bears also cut down on their turnovers, but the Blue Raiders made 19-of-28 free throws in the second half.
"It felt like we turned the ball over too much early," said Rocky Mountain head coach Bill Dreikosen. "We only had three turnovers in the second half, but we had 12 in the first half. We were probably fortunate to be that close in the first half, then we just couldn't completely find our rhythm."
Malachi Roberts and Jeremy Nicolas each scored 19 points and combined for seven rebounds to lead the Bears while Don Parham tallied 16 points, three assists and three rebounds. Joel Barndt scored nine points and pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds for Rocky Mountain. Rocky Mountain ends its season at 22-12.
Rocky Mountain - The Bears are making their seventh all-time appearance in the Division I Men's Basketball National Championship and fell to 5-6 in their tournament history ... Rocky Mountain picked up all five of its tournament victories on the way to the 2009 national championship ... The Bears' Joel Brandt recorded his 10th double-digit rebounding game of the season and 16th of his career.
Lindsey Wilson - The Blue Raiders are making their 11th national tournament appearance and improved to 6-10 all-time in the event ... Lindsey Wilson snapped a two-game losing streak in the first round, falling to Evangel in 2012 as well as Texas Wesleyan in 2009 ... The Blue Raiders' Kalen Kimberland recorded his first-career double-double in his four-year career and was the 12th of this year's tournament.