Matt Bos-Media Coordinator; written by Mike Byker, SID at Dordt College
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. (Box Score)- St. Thomas (Fla.) took a first round win 85-72 over Mount Mercy (Iowa) on Thursday evening at the 22nd annual NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship. The 2013 event is being held at the Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of College of the Ozarks.
The Bobcats won a first round game at the tournament for the second year in a row, and never trailed after taking the lead at the 17:19 mark of the first half. St. Thomas pushed out to a 16-7 advantage on the heels of an 11-0 run and got up by as many as nine near the midpoint of the first half when John Nunnally made it 26-17.
Mount Mercy had an answer to the run as they charged back to within 27-26 on a Chad Underwood bucket but the momentum shifted back to the Bobcats they went up by as many as 13 and led 43-35 at halftime.
Mount Mercy, the #12 seed in the tournament and seventh of the16 seeded teams to fall in the first round, made a charge early in the second half to get to within 45-43. St. Thomas had an answer in going up 61-52 with 10:31 remaining on a basket by Khalalis Coppock-Bey. St. Thomas never led by less than four the rest of the game and pulled away for the 13 point margin of victory.
St. Thomas took advantage of 49 points from their reserves and made 27-54 field goals for 50% success and they were 8-19 on three-point basket attempts. Mount Mercy was limited to 26-68 field goal attempts for 38% and they fought to a 34-34 deadlock on the boards with 16 offensive rebounds.
St. Thomas was topped by John Nunnally with 25 points on 8-9 field goal shooting and 8-11 free throw success. Kevin Hincapie had 15 points and six rebounds while Davorn Bryant and Coppock-Bey had 11 and 10 points respectively.
Mount Mercy got 25 points from Chad Underwood with nine rebounds and Lamar Wall had 20. LaDon Singleton scored 11 with six rebounds and had a pair of steals.
The Mustangs end their season with a 27-6 mark while St. Thomas advances to the second round with a 21-11 mark. The Sun Conference member will now face the winner of the Warner Pacific (Ore.) against Dakota State (S. D.) game on Friday night at 9:15 pm. The 32-team, single elimination tournament concludes Tuesday, March 12, with the championship game to tip-off at 8 pm.