SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Box Score)– No. 2 seed Morningside (Iowa) defeated No. 3 seed Warner Pacific (Ore.) 84-73 for a spot in the quarterfinal round of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship, presented by Cypress Risk Management.
The Mustangs won their ninth straight game and will be making their first trip to the national quarterfinals since 2006.
An early 17-9 run put the Mustangs in front for good and they stretched the lead to as many as 13 in the opening half. Morningside shot 50% (6/12) from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.
Up 44-36 at the break, Morningside initiated an 18-5 at the start of the second-half to balloon their lead to 21 after a basket by freshman guard Zach Imig.
The Knightstired to rally late but could not get any closer than seven on two different occasions in the final minute. Eggers converted 4-of-4 free-throws in the final 40 seconds, securing the victory for the Mustangs.
Morningside shot 48% for the game and had four players score in double figures. Eggers had a game-high 25 points, going 11-of-12 from the free throw line. Sophomore big man Tyler Borchers posted a double-double of 20 points and 15 rebounds to go with three blocks. Imig (12 points, 7 assists) and Alex Borchers (11 points) were the other top scorers.
Brandon Bell came off the bench with 20 points to lead Warner Pacific. Collin Malcolm added 19 points and De’Jon Bowman had a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds. Warner Pacific missed a chance to advance to their first-ever quarterfinals and ended their season with a 24-10 overall record.
Morningside improves to 28-6 on the year and will play No.1 Indiana Wesleyan in a quarterfinal contest on Saturday at 6pm.