By Matt Bos, Media Coordinator
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. - (Box Score) No. 6 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) rallied from five points down in the final minutes to defeat Briar Cliff (Iowa), 55-50, in the final game of the second round of the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship. The 2012 event is being played at the Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo.
Trailing 47-42, CSU guards Mike Simpson and Derek Semenas hit back-to-back three-pointers to take a 48-47 lead. A free throw by Briar Cliff tied it at 48, but the Wolves scored the next five points, all from the foul line, to pull ahead for good. A late basket by BCU guard Zach Otting made it a one possession game again but Wolves center Derek Woelffer made two free throws with one second left to preserve the win.
Cardinal Stritch struggled from the field all game, shooting 32%, but had success from beyond the arc, making 3-for-7 three-pointers. Semenas led all players with 20 points and also pulled down seven rebounds. Simpson was also in double figures with 10.
The Wolves led for all but two minutes in the first half opening up their largest lead (23-14) after a 10-2 run with four minutes to go. BCU was within five by halftime, 25-20. The Chargers seized the lead back after Taylor Murren knocked down consecutive three-pointers at the 10-minute mark and held a five-point advantage before the Wolves' rally.
Briar Cliff was led by Jake Shipley with 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Murren added 11 points despite going 3-for-11 from the field. The Chargers shot 39% for the game, 19% from the beyond the arc. They end the season with a 22-11 record.
Cardinal Stritch will make its first-ever appearance into the quarterfinals with a 30-5 record. They will play No. 3 Davenport (Mich.) at 7:00 p.m. CST on Saturday.