Matt Bos-Media Coordinator
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. (Box Score)- #2 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) earns a spot in the championship game with a 69-56 win over #11 Indiana University Southeast in the second semifinal of the 2013 NAIA Division II Men's National Basketball Championship. The 2013 event is being held at the Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of College of the Ozarks.
Tony Smit led all scorers with 21 points and had the hot hand from the perimeter, knocking down five three-pointers for the Wolves. Patrick Moore dominated the paint with 15 points and six rebounds and Jeremy D'Amico chipped in 14.
After being down 5-0, Cardinal Stritch quickly took control with a 20-4 run, led by Smith who hit a trio of three-pointers, scoring 13 points in the opening six minutes. IU Southeast regrouped and cut it to four moments later but an 8-0 run put the Wolves up by 12 and led by as much as 13 (42-29) in the first half after another three-pointer by Smit. The Grenadiers scored the final seven points, however, capped by a half-court shot by Cameron Mitchell that just beat the horn to put the score at 42-36 at the break.
IU Southeast made it a three-point game early in the final half on a three-pointer by Matt Trimnell but Cardinal Stritch put the game away, scoring the next 14 points en route to a 17-2 run that put the Wolves up 61-42. D'Amico knocked down a couple of three-pointers and Moore scored seven points during their stretch run while the Wolves defense held IU Southeast without a field goal for over 12 minutes.
The Grenadiers shot 42% for the game but were held to just 35% in the second half. Cameron Mitchell led the way with 18 points and Kegan Clark added 13. IU Southeast, playing in its first ever semifinal, end the season at 30-5.
Cardinal Stritch shot 40% for the game, 43% from beyond the arc and has held three of its four opponents at the national championship to under 60 points. The Wolves will play for their schools first ever national championship.
This marks just the third time that the top two seeded teams will be playing for the title game. In 1999, #1 Cornerstone (Mich.) defeated #2 Bethel (Ind.) 113-109 (OT) in the highest scoring game in the history of the championship. Last year, #2 Oregon Tech defeated top seed Northwood (Fla.) 63-46.
Cardinal Stritch improves to 34-3 on the year and will play #1 William Penn (Iowa) for the national championship on Tuesday night, March 12 at 8:00pm. The championship game will be televised live on televised live on CBS Sports Network.