LSU Alexandria Rolls Into Second Round, 95-74
By Chad Waller, Communicationas and Sports Information Director
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Box score) No. 1 seed LSU Alexandria (La.) captured its first-ever win at the 2016 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship, 95-74, in the first round over No. 8-seeded SAGU (Texas). The Generals will face the winner of No. 4-seeded Peru State (Neb.) and No. 5-seeded Carroll (Mont.) on Friday, March 18 at 6:15 p.m.
Brian Sylvester came off the bench to post a team-high 16 points while collecting a game-best 12 rebounds, one of two LSU Alexandria players with double-digit rebounds (Gilbert Talbot, 11). Jordin Williams tossed in 14 points to go along with three assists, DeQuavious Wagner added 11 points, and DeAngelo Coleman tallied 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
“SAGU’s a team that spreads you out and shoots a lot of threes,” said LSU Alexandria head coach Larry Cordaro. “We had a goal to keep them in single-digit threes and we did it, holding them to nine threes. I’m proud of our bunch for guarding them and holding them to 26.5 percent in three-pointers.”
Facing an early 16-14 deficit at the 11:51 mark of the first half, LSU Alexandria took the lead thanks to a three-pointer by Coleman and transition bucket by William Claiborne to start a quick 7-0 spurt. Leading by four with 1:43 until halftime, the Generals used another six-point surge to push the advantage to double digits and took a 10-point lead into intermission.
The Generals used another stretch of seven-straight points to start the second half, pushing the lead to its biggest point at 58-41 with 14:33 remaining. SAGU closed to within nine points after back-to-back three-pointers by Tyler Pate and Emmanuel Adoyi at the 9:51 mark, but Sylvester and Williams scored on the next two possessions to reclaim the double-digit advantage for the remainder of the game.
LSU Alexandria (29-3) shot 60.0 percent from the field in the second half on the way to a 36-of-65 clip (.554) for the game that included 11-of-23 (.478) from three-point range. The Generals also enjoyed a 48-32 advantage on the glass and shared the ball to the tune of 23 assists. SAGU committed just seven turnovers and converted 15-of-19 free throws, but was limited to 25-of-70 shooting (.357).
"I am really proud of this group of young men,” said SAGU head coach Donnie Bostwick. “We started out with a really good 17 minutes, but our last three minutes of the first half and first couple of the second half did us in.”
Rishaad Alexander led the way for SAGU with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Keyunta Watkins chipped in with 19 points and four rebounds, and Adoyi finished with eight points and eight rebounds.
SAGU finishes its season with a 20-13 record.
LSU Alexandria – The Generals won the program's first-ever game at the National Championship to improve to 1-1 at the event...Moved to 8-2 this season against teams at this year’s championship field…The 95 points scored was the most for the Generals this season against a team in this year's National Championship...Brian Sylvester entered the tournament leading the NAIA in blocks per game (3.0) and total blocks (94), and finished with three blocks...The Generals rank fourth in the NAIA in field goal percentage defense (.394) and limited SAGU to a shooting percentage of .357...Owned a 21-game win streak this season, which lasted three months, the longest of any team at the National Championship.
SAGU – Lions are making their fifth overall appearance and fourth-straight. … SAGU has been knocked out in the first round in three-straight National Championship appearances since advancing to the 2013 title game, which the Lions lost to Georgetown (Ky.) … Rishaad Alexander ranks fifth in assists per game (6.3) and is ninth in total assists (169) - finished with four … Lost three of last five heading into championship having split with championship qualifier Mid-America Christian (Okla.) and suffering a pair of losses to championship qualifiers Texas Wesleyan and Wayland Baptist (Texas). … Largest margin of defeat this season, with previous high of 20 points suffered in a 99-79 loss to University of Science & Arts (Okla.) on Jan. 30.