Point Loma Nazarene advances behind balanced scoring effort
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - (Box score; video) Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) advanced to the second round of the 75th Annual NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship with a 74-44 win over Texas Wesleyan, Wednesday afternoon at Municipal Auditorium.
Sophomore guard Marek Klassen led Point Loma Nazarene with 16 points and 11 rebounds, hitting 4-of-9 3-point shots. Senior forward Greg Murray and senior guard Jake Johnston chipped in 12 points apiece as the Sea Lions shot 48.3 percent from the floor (29-of-60) and posted a 42-26 rebounding advantage.
Texas Wesleyan claimed an early 8-4 lead at the 12:22 mark after a pair of free throws by Stephane Mudiay. The remainder of the first half, however, belonged to the No. 16-seeded Sea Lions who hail from the Golden State Athletic Conference. Johnston hit back-to-back buckets to ignite a 10-0 run as Point Loma Nazarene held a 28-8 scoring advantage the rest of the half.
"We had a lot of good moments this year," said Texas Wesleyan's Terry Waldrop. "And unfortunately today was not close to what we are capable of. Give all the credit in the world to Point Loma."
Point Loma Nazarene led by double digits the entire second half and led by no less than 13 points for the rest of the game. Texas Wesleyan was limited to just 15-of-48 field goals (.313), including a 1-for-9 mark from 3-point range, while also committing 14 turnovers.
Senior forward Eric Frederick led all scorers with 20 points to go along with a team-best nine rebounds for Texas Wesleyan, but he was the only player to score in double figures. Three other Rams players tallied six points apiece.
Point Loma Nazarene improves to 21-9 on the season and will take on No. 1-seeded Shorter (Ga.) on Friday in quarterfinal round action at 10:45 a.m. CDT. Texas Wesleyan, the 2006 national champion, has its season come to an end with a record of 25-8.
Point Loma - This was the Sea Lions 9th appearance at the national tourney but only its second win in the opening round in its last six tries ... In 2008 they defeated Southern Nazarene, 76-73 ... The #16 seed is 9-4 since 2000 in opening round games ... Point Loma entered today's game ranked third in total scoring offense in the NAIA at 86.2 ppg.
Texas Wesleyan - This was the Rams fifth-straight appearance in the national tourney and 13th overall ... With today's loss the Rams fell to 13-12 all time in tournament appearances after a second-consecutive opening round loss ... Forward Eric Frederick entered today's contest in the top ten of five statistical offensive categories in the NAIA including second in scoring at 25.5 ppg ... Texas Wesleyan finished 6-8 on the season when trailing at halftime.