SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Box Score) Oklahoma Wesleyan scored the first ten points of overtime and then held off a Bethel (Ind.) rally with clutch free throwing to capture an 83-75 victory in a first round match-up at the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship, presented by Cypress Risk Management. This year’s event is being played for the first time at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, SD.
Juniors Josh Wilchcombe and Jake Feickert played starring roles for the victorious Eagles. Wilchcombe finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds while Feickert added a game high 24 points, including five three-point goals.
Wilchcombe’s basket from in-close with 0:21 remaining in regulation sent the game into overtime knotted at 64. Wilchcombe’s rebounding and clutch free-throwing combined with Feickert’s six points dominated the overtime.
KJ Malveau hit the first of two free throws with 4:02 remaining in overtime to give Oklahoma Wesleyan the lead for good. Malveau, the Eagles’ leading scorer on the season, added 14 points and Isaac Rowe contributed a double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds (13 rebounds in the first half).
Tanner Shepherd had 23 points for Bethel of the Crossroads League which finishes 22-9.
Both teams struggled to find their rhythm in an uneven first half. Two Feickert free throws with 8:02 remaining gave Oklahoma a 25-13 advantage, their largest lead of the half. Though held scoreless for the final three and a half minutes of the half, the Eagles left the court with a 33-26 advantage.
Oklahoma Wesleyan, now 26-8, moves forward to meet the tournament’s overall number one seed IU East in a second round match-up Friday at 8:30 AM at the Sanford Pentagon.