Buzzer-Beater Boosts Langston Past Pikeville, 63-61
Story By Eric Montgomery | Media Coordinator
Photos courtesy of Referee Photo
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Box Score) James Morris Jr. scored as time expired to give No. 8-seeded Langston (Okla.) a 63-61 victory over No. 1-seeded Pikeville (Ky.) to advance to the second round in the Duer Bracket of the 81st Annual NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship, Thursday afternoon at Municipal Auditorium. The Lions will play the winner of No. 4-seeded Texas Wesleyan and No. 5-seeded Graceland (Iowa) on Friday, March 16 at 5:45 p.m. CDT
- Langston improved its season record to 21-11
- Pikeville finished its season with a record of 28-5
- Brandon Eboigbodin recorded a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds for Langston, while also adding five steals, two blocked shots and two assists
- Dante Bailey shared team-high scoring honors with 14 points to go along with four rebounds
- Jordan Perry led the way for Pikeville with 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting
- Jayvian Delacruz added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Bears
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Langston took a two-point lead with 1:28 remaining on a short jumper by Dante Bailey before Delacruz scored a bucket in the paint for Pikeville at the 1:08 mark
- Eboigbodin missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 50 seconds remaining, while Delacruz was off the mark on a jumper with 24 seconds to play to give Langston the final possession and the score tied at 61-61.
- Morris Jr. dribbled across the top of the arc from left to right, pulled up along the base line from 15 feet out, and heaved a high-arching jump shot that bounced around the rim, off the backboard and into the hoop as time expired
- The game finished with 14 ties and 14 lead changes, with the biggest lead at six points for either team coming with Langston leading 38-32 with 14:29 remaining in the second half
HOW THEY SAW IT
- Langston head coach Stan Holt – “I called a sideline out of bounds play that we’ve put in. I think we were pretty comfortable running it, and we’ve run it quite a bit even thought to that point we hadn’t run it in this game. We wanted to get something towards the rim and have a shooter spaced so if Pikeville did help we’d have Dante (Bailey) on the wing ready to shoot it. J.J. (Morris) made a heck of a play. He had to shoot a fadeaway, but he does a great job of shooting the ball up high.”
- Pikeville head coach Kelly Wells – “I don’t know what happened. We just didn’t play our game. It was a lot like the Mid-South Conference tournament. We just couldn’t get it going our way. We played selfishly at times … I’m not sure. I just don’t have the answer. Give (Langston) credit. They did what they needed to do. They hit the big shot when they needed it and we didn’t.”
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Both teams shot near 50 percent from the free throw line, with Langston recording a 9 of 17 clip, while Pikeville finished 12 for 25
- The two teams combined to hit just five three-point shots, the lowest combined total thus far in the championship
Pikeville is making its sixth-straight appearance in the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship and seventh appearance in the last eight years...The Bears are 13-11 all-time in the national tournament, including 5-7 in the opening round...Pikeville had won at least one tournament game in four of its last five appearances, including advancing to the quarterfinals in 2015 and 2017...Pikeville is one of six Mid-South Conference teams in the national tournament and Mid-South Conference teams are 2-3 in the tournament so far... Pikeville is now 8-4 against national tournament teams...The Bears started the season No. 14 in the national rankings and rose to as high as No. 2 in the rankings released on March 7...Pikeville came into the tournament averaging 91.6 points per game, but were held to just 26 in the first half against Langston and finished with a season-low 61 points in the loss...
Langston qualified for the national tournament for the third-consecutive season and is making its sixth overall appearance...The Lions are one of four teams from the Red River Athletic Conference in the tournament...The Lions are 3-7 against teams that are part of this season’s national championship...In the 2017 tournament, as a No. 6 seed, Langston advanced to the quarterfinals against William Penn (Iowa), where the Lions fell to the Statesmen, 84-80...LU is now 2-4 in the first round of the national tournament...Under the direction of head coach Stan Holt, the Lions have qualified for the national tournament in all three seasons he has been at the helm...During the season, Langston averaged 81.5 points per game, but were held to a season-low 63 points in the victory...
Higher seeds are 7-5 thus far in the tournament, but two No. 1 seeds and one No. 2 seed are already out… Ten of the first 12 games have been decided by 10 points or less, including seven by six points or less and five by three points or less.