One of the reasons people often give me for why they find college basketball more of an effort to follow than college football is the amorphous nature of the regular season. Unlike in football, where every game counts, everyone knows that in college basketball the regular season does nothing but determine your team’s seeding in their conference tournament. Those conference tournaments are when even the most casual of fans begin to sit up and take notice since the stakes are clearer and winning the conference tournament will earn your team a spot in the national championship tournament.
Last night the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) began its conference tournament season as the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference tipped off its 2013 tournament. The Top 3 seeds get a bye in the 1st round so not everyone saw action last night. Here are the results from Round 1.
Not surprisingly the 8 vs 9 matchup was the tightest game of the evening. The 9th seeded TRINITY CHRISTIAN COLLEGE TROLLS pulled off the upset, toppling the (8) ROOSEVELT UNIVERSITY LAKERS by a score of 61-55. The Trolls (how can you not love their logo) held Roosevelt to just under 30% shooting including 2 of 26 from downtown. BJ Wortham led Trinity Christian with 14 points, followed by teammate Ezekiel Odonkor with 8 points and 12 rebounds. Four other Trolls contributed at least 6 points each as opposed to the Lakers, who got just 2 points from their bench.
The HOLY CROSS COLLEGE SAINTS came into the tournament as the 10 seed but stunned the 7th seeded TRINITY INTERNATIONAL TROJANS 90-78 in the upset of the night. The Saints shot 59% from the field in the 1st half and led 49-40 at the break. Mike Vander Ploeg led the scoring for Holy Cross with 24 points and Brandon Evans tossed in 20 of his own. Parker Dominguez contributed a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. 76 of the Trojans’ points came from their starting 5.
At the 6 spot the PURDUE- CALUMET PEREGRINES authoritatively put away the 11 seed, the JUDSON EAGLES, 79-65. Teamwork was the name of the game offensively for the Peregrines, as no less than 5 of their players registered double- digit points. Warren Gordon led the team with 13, Andrew Anderson and Martel Jackson added a dozen points each with bench players Dioscar Gomez and Aaron Davis both scoring 11. PUC led at the half 40-24. Ironically Judson’s Luke Labedzki led both sides in scoring with his 15 points.
The (4) ST FRANCIS FIGHTING SAINTS had no trouble dispatching the (13) PURDUE- NORTH CENTRAL PANTHERS in a 109-64 laugher. All 15 players for the Fighting Saints scored in the one- sided affair. In this Century Club- level performance by the team Chris Miller, Andrew Lerg and Billy Hubly each tossed in 16 points with USF as a whole shooting 51% from the field. The Fighting Saints ruled the boards as well, by a count of 48-27.
The 12th seeded CALUMET CRIMSON WAVE fell to the (5) OLIVET NAZARENE UNIVERSITY TIGERS by a score of 72-64. Both defenses were on fire with the two teams shooting under 39% from the field. Tony Banks led the way for the triumphant ONU squad with 17 points and 8 rebounds while Austin Davis was the 6th man of the night with 12 points. 5 more Tigers contributed at least 7 points each in the win. On the other side of the court the Crimson Wave’s Damonte Lowery was the highlight of their valiant effort, notching 20 points of his own.
The CCAC Tournament resumes Wednesday night with the following matchups as the Top 3 seeds join in the fun:
(1) CARDINAL STRITCH WOLVES vs the (9) TRINITY CHRISTIAN TROLLS ### (2) ST XAVIER COUGARS vs the (10) HOLY CROSS SAINTS ### (3) INDIANA UNIVERSITY- SOUTH BEND TITANS vs the (6) PURDUE- CALUMET PEREGRINES ### (4) ST FRANCIS FIGHTING SAINTS vs the (5) OLIVET NAZARENE TIGERS