Strong Bench Keys LSU Alexandria's Semifinal Victory
Story By Chad Waller | NAIA National Office
Photos courtesy of Referee Photo
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Box Score) Powered by a game-ending 29-19 run, No. 4 seeded LSU Alexandria (La.) eliminated No. 1 William Penn (Iowa), 84-75, in the second semifinal of the 81st Annual NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship, Monday evening inside Municipal Auditorium. The Generals face tournament newcomer No. 5-seeded Graceland (Iowa) in the national championship title contest on Tuesday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. CDT, broadcast live on ESPN3.
- LSU Alexandria improves to 29-7 and heads to its first-ever title contest on Tuesday
- The Generals are playing in their fourth season of varsity competition
- William Penn ends its season with a record of 30-5
- This marks the first year since 1961 that a team from Louisiana played in the title game (Grambling)
- The higher seeds are 15-15 through 30 games, while 24 games have been decided by 10 points or fewer including 14 by six points or less
- The high scorer for LSU Alexandria was Brandon Moss with 21. He also finished with nine boards, three assists and two steals.
- Shannon James Jr., came off the bench to notch 16 points and five helpers.
- Chris Vickers chipped in a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Generals.
- Terrell Thompson led all scorers with 26 points for the Statesmen. He added seven rebounds and five assists.
- Aakin Saintil knocked down six treys for William Penn and finished with 20 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- William Penn got hot early on the offensive side snatching a 27-16 lead with eight-and-a-half minutes left in the first half. However, the Generals rattled off a 19-5 run to go up by three points right before halftime.
- William Penn’s Mikeal Donaldson hit a jumper to dead-lock the score at 37-37 at intermission.
- A basket by Chris Vickers put LSU Alexandria on top to begin the second half and the Generals never trailed the rest of the game.
- Dominique Shaw’s 3-pointer with under eight minutes remaining tied the game up for the last time by the Statesmen – the fifth tie of the game – but LSU Alexandria closed out on a 25-16 run.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- LSU Alexandria again utilized its strong bench in the victory. Brandon Moss led the way with 21 points, a role off the bench that he has embraced all year. Overall, the Generals got 27 bench points.
- The Generals recorded just four turnovers on the night, compared to 11 by William Penn.
- Coming into the game, William Penn ranked No. 10 in the NAIA in shooting (49.3 percent), but tonight finished at 40.6 percent.
HOW THEY SAW IT
- LSU Alexandria head coach Larry Cordaro: “We needed a special performance to get by a tough William Penn team. This was the first game in the tournament where we felt we truly faced adversity and we overcame it by believing in each other and playing harder than ever. We knew we’d have to fight on the glass and we hung right there with them, and that was a key in the win, not letting them get a lot of second chance opportunities, and converting when we had that opportunity. Tonight was a very tough game in a championship atmosphere, and we expect tomorrow night will be as well, but we need to finish off the job.”
LSU Alexandria (La.)
LSUA is appearing in their fourth-consecutive NAIA National Championship since their debut in 2015... This was their second appearance in the semifinals after falling to Life University (Ga.) at last year's tournament in the Fab Four... They currently hold an 8-3 record in the national tournament... They are one of four teams from the Red River Athletic Conference to participate in this year's event and one of two teams from this conference to advance to the semifinals, alongside LSU Shreveport (La.)… The Generals held a 14-4 record within the Red River Athletic Conference and finished their regular season on a seven-game winning streak... They will make program history advancing to the national championship for the first time since the program began in 2015.
William Penn (Iowa)
William Penn is in the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship for the third-straight season after transitioning from Division II of the NAIA...The Statesmen are 8-3 all-time in the national tournament, including 0-2 in semifinal games...William Penn also reached the semifinals in 2017 before losing, 83-82, in overtime to eventual national champion Texas Wesleyan...William Penn is one of four Heart of America Athletic Conference teams in this year's tournament...Heart teams are 8-3 in this year's tournament thus far...William Penn is 5-5 against national tournament qualifiers... The Statesmen finish their season with wins in four of their final six games...William Penn led the nation in scoring average this season, putting up 102.4 points per game.