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Life Wins Championship Opener Over William Carey, 68-67

Life vs William Carey - 2018 tournament

Story By Eric Montgomery | NAIA Media Coordinator
Photos courtesy of Referee Photo


KANSAS CITY, Mo.
– (Box Score) No. 6-seeded Life (Ga.) earned the first victory of the 81st Annual NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship with a 68-67 win over third-seeded William Carey (Miss.), Wednesday morning at Municipal Auditorium. The Eagles will play the winner of No. 2-seeded Central Methodist (Mo.) and No. 7-seeded Wayland Baptist (Texas) on Friday, March 16 at 2:15 p.m. CDT

NOTES

  • Life improved its season record to 21-11
  • William Carey ends its season with a record of 25-6

STANDOUT PERFORMERS

  • Life guard Undra Mitchem finished with 23 points and nine rebounds, hitting 6 of 10 three-point attempts and 8 of 14 overall from the field
  • Michael Miller from Life added 12 points, five assists and two steals
  • Jamarri Johnson came off the bench for William Carey to lead his team with 21 points on 3 of 5 shooting from three-point range
  • Jaylen Moore added 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals for William Carey

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Life led by as many as 16 points in the first half, hitting five three-point shots in the opening 10:40 of play for a 25-9 lead
  • William Carey scored the final eight points of the opening stanza to trail 33-27 at the half as Moore and Johnson hit back-to-back three-point shots
  • The Crusaders tied the game for the first time at the 10:20 mark of the second half thanks to a three-pointer by Quinton Williams
  • With the game tied at 65-65 with 1:44 to play, Adrian Williams gave William Carey a 67-65 lead with 1:28 to play
  • Mitchem hit the eventual game-winning shot with 20 seconds to play, hitting the last of his six three-point shots
  • William Carey had three shot attempts in the final seconds, but was unable to convert

HOW THEY SAW IT

  • Life head coach Keith Adkins - “At a timeout with about two minutes left, I told the guys we needed five great defensive possessions in a row to win this game. I felt that we weren’t going to win this game with an offensive set, but with our defense getting stops in the final minutes.”
  • William Carey head coach Steve Knight – “We had three pretty good looks on that last possession, but it just didn’t go in. It was two good teams playing, and Life was the one that made the shot at the end. I told the guys that we didn’t lose the game. Life just won it.”

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • Life shot 59.1 percent (13 of 22) in the second half and made 5 of 8 three-point shots
  • William Carey made 12 of 13 free throws and received 41 of its 67 points off the bench
  • Both teams committed 12 turnovers, but Life earned a 19-12 edge in points off takeaways

GAME NOTES:
Life

Life improved to 27-13 all-time in the national championship after playing in the opening game of the tournament for the second-straight season … Life qualified for the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship for the second-straight year and eighth time in the last 10 seasons… The Eagles advanced to the championship game in 2017, falling to Texas Wesleyan (86-76) … Life defeated a team from the Southern States Athletic Conference in the first round for the second-straight event (Martin Methodist (Tenn.)) … The 68 points was the second-fewest scoring in a win by the Eagles this season, winning 65-62 vs Martin Methodist on Nov. 14… Coming into the game against William Carey, Life had alternated wins and losses in its last six games... Life is one of six Mid-South Conference teams in this year's tournament field...Life is now 8-7 against teams that qualified for the championship... The Running Eagles are attempting to win their first national title since 2000, when Life won the most recent of its three national championships... Life's Keith Adkins is the first head coach in the tournament's 81-year history to make consecutive NAIA Fab Four appearances with different teams. He directed Campbellsville (Ky.) to the Fab Four in 2016 prior to finishing as the national runner-up last year.

William Carey

The Crusaders fell to 2-12 all-time in the national championship, losing its third-straight first round contest … William Carey is one of two teams from the Southern States Athletic Conference (Dalton State) … The Crusaders entered the national championship on a nine-game winning streak … Head coach Steve Knight completed his 36th season in charge at William Carey and is No. 3 on the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball active coaches’ wins list (654)… The Crusaders started the contest out cold, missing its first five shots before Jaylen Moore hit a running layup with 15:20 remaining in the first half… Moore led the team in scoring in the first half with 10 points; he would finish with 15 points… WCU went on an 8-0 run to end the half, as they trailed Life, 33-27, at the break, they trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half when they were down, 25-9, with 9:20 remaining before the break… WCU was nearly perfect from the free-throw line on 12-of-13 shooting, good for 92.3-percent… The Crusaders knocked down 11 three-point field goals and outrebounded the Eagles, 34-32, Quinton Williams led the team with nine rebounds… The game featured five ties and four lead changes… William Carey’s largest lead came with 2:31 to go in the game, when they were up five, 65-60…The WCU defense held Life to 44.2-percent shooting and forced 12 turnovers.

Championship Information

NAIA Swim & Dive Championship
Sports Rules - Swimming & Diving (W)
Official Merchandise-Swim and Dive