Story By Eric Montgomery | Media Coordinator
Photos courtesy of Referee Photo
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Box Score) No. 8 seed Peru State (Neb.) led by as many as 16 points, but needed solid free-throw shooting to knock off the overall No. 1 seed The Master’s (Calif.) in overtime, 106-104, tonight in the first round of the 81st Annual NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship, at Municipal Auditorium. The Bobcats, winners in the national championship event for the first time since 1962, advance to the second round to battle No. 4 LSU Alexandria (La.) on Friday, March 16 at 12:30 p.m. CDT.
- Peru State improves to 22-13 on the year and wins its first championship tournament game since 1962
- The Master’s completes its season with a 29-3 mark
- Quantice Hunter was one of five Peru State players in double figures with a game-high 30 points. He hit 11-of-15 free throw attempts.
- LJ Westbrook added 28 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
- Lawrence Russell, who connected on four treys, gathered a Mustang-high 27 points and also tallied seven rebounds.
- Four other The Master’s players had 10-or-more points, including 21 from Hansel Atencia and 18 points – and 17 rebounds – from Brock Gardner.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- After a 9-9 deadlock early in the first half, Peru State took a 41-33 lead into the locker room.
- That advantage grew to 55-39 after a two-pointer by Quantice Hunter at the 15:17 mark of the second half.
- From that point, The Master’s got to work and a free throw by Delewis Johnson with 4:48 remaining capped a 34-18 run for the Mustangs which tied the score at 73-73.
- Lawrence Russell of The Master’s pushed the game into the extra period with a running lay-up with one second remaining in regulation.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Peru State shot 46.5 percent from the field (33-of-71), compared to 40.4 percent (36-of-89) by The Master’s.
- The Bobcats made 32-of-50 free throw attempts, including 24-of-38 in the second half and overtime
- The Master’s forced 17 turnovers and turned those into 25 points.
- By allowing 106 points tonight, the point total is the most allowed by a Mustang defense since a Feb. 2, 2016 loss to Westmont (Calif.) (106-83).
Peru State (Neb.)
Peru State qualified for the national championship for the 15th time, including the second time in three years… The Bobcats are now 6-4 against team’s in this season’s championship... Bob Ludwig is in his first season as the head coach for PSC… Ludwig was an assistant coach for the Bobcats when Peru State last qualified for the national championship in 2016… Peru State advanced out of the first round for the first time since 1962 – the Bobcats had previously lost their last three tournament lid-lifters… The Bobcats were the first team to reach 100 points in the championship…
The Master’s (Calif.)
Master’s qualified for the national championship for the ninth time in program history, making their second-consecutive trip… Both years Kelvin Starr has been the head coach, the Mustangs have qualified for the national championship… The Mustangs finished 4-3 against team’s in this season’s championship... The Mustangs have played teams from the Heart of America Athletic Conference for the second-straight season in the first round (Benedictine, Kan.)… The Mustangs regular season featured a 23-game win-streak…
The last time the number one overall seed in the tournament lost in the first round was in 2009 when William Jewell (Mo.) knocked off No. 1 Rogers State (Okla.) (76-73)…The two teams have never met in the championship before… First overtime game of the championship… First game where a team has reached 100+ points… First game where both teams reached 100+ points…