Balanced Scoring Keys Saint Francis Win
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Box Score) – No. 2 University of Saint Francis (Ind.) moves into the quarterfinals with a 94-83 win over No. 3 Northwestern (Iowa) in the second round of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship.
Derek Hinen, the Cougars senior floor general, poured in a team-high 34 points, one of four USF players to score in double figures. Sharp-shooting guard Austin Compton scored 18 points, draining a trio of three-pointers while backcourt mate Evan Henry connected on four shots from beyond the arc and scored 14.
Both teams showcased their prowess on offense throughout, leading to the highest scoring game of the championship to date.
Saint Francis grabbed the lead for good after a jumper by Derek Hinen and later used a 12-4 run midway through the first half to push the lead to 10.
Up by nine at the half (50-41), the Cougars outscored Northwestern 15-5 to take a 19-point lead, its largest of the game, with 14:30 left to play. The Red Raiders made one final charge, cutting their deficit down to nine after a three-point play by Nathan Wedel with just over six minutes left.
Compton’s final three-pointer followed by a three-point play by Hinen pushed the lead back to 13 for Saint Francis in the final minutes.
Chandler White added 16 points for Saint Francis, who held a 35-30 edge on the boards which led to a 20-6 advantage in second chance points. The win was Coach Chad LaCross's 200th for his career.
Northwestern was led by Colton Kooima, who closes out his prolific career with 37 points, much to the delight of his hometown fans. Nathan Wedel scored 23 and pulled down 12 rebounds in his final game in a Red Raider uniform. They finish the season with a 26-7 record.
Saint Francis, now 27-8, advances to play the winner of Cornerstone (Mich.) / Southwestern (Kan.) on Saturday in the quarterfinals at 4pm.