by Matt Bos-Media Coordinator
Point Lookout, Mo. – (Box Score) A late run in the first half fueled a strong second half to send No. 7 seed York (Neb.) past second-seeded Rochester (Mich.) 85-75 in the opening round of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship.
Kameron Malbrough broke a 29-all tie with a 3-pointero give York (25-9 overall) the lead for good. Rochester (29-3 overall) pulled within two at the 1:21 mark, but York scored the final six points in the half to take a 43-35 lead into the break. The final two buckets came off of Warrior turnovers, and Michael Johnson scored as time expired in lifting the Panthers to the eight-point advantage.
York was in control the entire second half. The Panthers led by as much as 16 points, owning a 75-59 lead with 5:52 to play. The Warriors continued to fight, cutting the deficit to 81-75 following a Paris Pereira bucket with 56 seconds remaining. But it was too little, too late as York collected the 85-75 victory.
The game was delayed nearly an hour with little over 15 minutes remaining in the second due to a tornado warning as everyone was moved to safe areas in Keeter Gymnasium as the storm passed through town.
Five Panthers scored in double figures with Keith Mack and Cameron Coleman leading the way with 21 points apiece. Mack hit 9-of-14 shots from the floor and went 3-for-4 from long range, while Coleman was 8-of-11 from the field and 5-for-5 from the charity stripe.
Also scoring in double figures for York were Mark Dean (11 points), Johnny Cooksey (11 points), and Drelan Tripplett (10 points).
Rochester’s Angelo Griffis led all scorers with 24 points, while Armand Cartwright came off the bench to knock in 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Jaylen Larry helped out with 14 points.
York will face the winner of the Briar Cliff (Iowa)-Bellevue (Neb.) game on Friday at 4 p.m. CT.
For more information on the national championship, click here. To watch the live video stream, go to NAIANetwork.com.