KANSAS CITY, Mo. - (Box score) Two of the nation's top-scoring defenses were on display as No. 2 Oklahoma Baptist prevailed, 69-57, against No. 15 Columbia (Mo.) in the 75th Anniversary of the 2012 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship. The Bison held their opponents to 62 points on average this year, and they did the job tonight at Municipal Auditorium. Columbia, who entered the contest second in the NAIA in smothering offenses, was doomed by 19 turnovers.
With the victory, Oklahoma Baptist heads to the quarterfinals on Saturday and takes on No. 10 Biola (Calif.) at 6 p.m. CDT.
"We were bad offensively in the first half, but we were pretty good defensively all game," said Oklahoma Baptist head coach Doug Tolin. "I thought the first team to get going in the second half would win. This was a better game for us overall. I thought we made them work hard for their shots."
The game stayed close in the first half as Oklahoma Baptist took a 28-24 lead into the locker room. Neither squad could get out to more than a seven-point advantage. Tanner Sutton's bucket at the 9:51 mark capped an 11-0 run for Columbia. At that point, the Cougars had momentum with a 17-13 lead. That was their last lead of the game.
The Columbia offense went cold midway through the first half. The Bison went up, 24-17, in the next five minutes. Marques Anderson and Heath McKay each piled in four points during that stretch.
Jordan Dressler brought back the Cougars to a 30-28 deficit early in the second half. But then Columbia went into another scoring funk with a three-and-a-half minute stretch of zero points.
Oklahoma Baptist's David Johnson salted the game away with his lay-up at the 11:21 mark. The 45-31 lead at that point would be too much for the Cougars, who are out of the American Midwest Conference.
Emmanuel Wilson led all scorers with 24 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while he connected on four triples. Deangelo McIntosh added 13 and McKay posted 12. Dressler topped the Cougars with 16 points.
Oklahoma Baptist out-scored Columbia by a 19-3 advantage at the free throw line. Columbia held a slight edge in shooting, 44 percent to 43 percent.
"We had a hard time getting a run going and getting the game slowed down," said Columbia head coach Bob Burchard. "We just weren't as aggressive offensively as I would have liked to see, and that really ended up making the difference.
"The seniors have been everything you would want in players, on the court and off. They are exactly what Columbia College is proud to call a Cougar, with great work ethic and outstanding character. I am proud that they were a part of our program."
The Cougar wrap up the campaign with a 27-7 record.
Columbia - Columbia advanced to the second round of the tournament for the second time in three seasons and for the fifth time in 16 opportunities ... The 57 points scored were the fewest by the Cougars this season, and it was the fifth time they were held under 60 points ... Columbia leads the NAIA in assist/turnover ratio (1.42) and ranks second in scoring margin (+16.2) and scoring defense (58.7) ... Junior forward Jordan Dressler finished the season with 12 double-doubles, tying him for 10th in the NAIA.
Oklahoma Baptist - Oklahoma Baptist will play in the quarterfinals for the 16th time in 25 national tournament appearances and the third time in the last five seasons ... The Bison will face a familiar opponent in Biola (Calif.), a team they defeated in the 2010 quarterfinals by a 59-54 scoreline ... Oklahoma Baptist has won 12 of its last 13 games this season, with the only loss coming in the title game of the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament championship game ... The Bison are No. 3 in the NAIA in scoring margin (+16.1), No. 7 in scoring defense (62.3) and No. 8 in field goal percentage (.489).