* NAIA SWEET SIXTEEN *
NUMBER THREE TAKES A FALL – Perennial basketball powers the (3) LEE UNIVERSITY FLAMES were upset yesterday by the (14) MONTANA WESTERN BULLDOGS. The Bulldogs are the only Frontier Conference team left in the tournament and did the league proud with their 83-73 shocker over the Flames. Montana Western came back from a 34-31 halftime deficit to stun the nation.
CRUSADE OF THE RIVERBOAT PILOTS – The LSU- SHREVEPORT PILOTS put together an upset of their own last night. Their opponents, the (9) EVANGEL UNIVERSITY CRUSADERS, only gave up an average of 65 points during the 2012-2013 campaign but the Pilots boast the highest- scoring offense in NAIA Division One. The game saw a series of runs, with LSUS gaining a fair- sized lead only to see the Crusaders come storming back to within one or two possessions. In the end the Pilots moved on to their 2nd consecutive Elite Eight with a 77-70 victory.
NOT SO UNLUCKY THIRTEEN – The (13) GEORGETOWN (KY) TIGERS eliminated St Thomas (TX) in the previous round and yesterday the Tigers clawed up the (4) JOHN BROWN UNIVERSITY GOLDEN EAGLES to the tune of 80-67. Georgetown College used their superior size to win the battle of the backboards, outrebounding the Golden Eagles 48-31. The Tigers led JBU 39-27 at the half and then matched the Golden Eagles’ scoring intensity in the 2nd half to walk away with the win.
DEFENDING CHAMPS FALL TO CSC – The defending NAIA Division One champions, the CONCORDIA (CA) EAGLES (who I still say should change their name to the Condors), have found their title defense ended in the Sweet Sixteen. The CULVER STOCKTON COLLEGE WILDCATS won a 97-85 game to ensure that there will be a new champion at the end of the tourney. The Wildcats trailed by a point, 41-40 at the break, but poured it on offensively in the 2nd half for this double- digit win.
BLAZING A TRAIL TO EXCITEMENT – The MIDAMERICA NAZARENE UNIVERSITY PIONEERS brought down the (10) OKLAHOMA BAPTIST UNIVERSITY BISON yesterday. The Pioneers were trailing 22-9 to start the game and despite a rally of sorts they still trailed the Bison by a score of 34-26 at halftime. Time and again in the 2nd half OBU would build a double- digit lead only to see the indefatigable Pioneers fight their way back. With less than 2 minutes left in the game MNU took its first lead and when the clock at last melted down to zero the Pioneers were members of the Elite Eight with a 68-66 triumph.
NUMBER ONE MOVES ALONG – After a win so easy they outrightly humiliated their opponents in the previous round the top seeded COLUMBIA (MO) COUGARS found themselves in a fight for survival in last night’s game. The HOPE INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY ROYALS gave the Cougars almost more than they could handle. At the break the game was knotted up at 32 apiece and the Royals went blow for blow with Columbia in the 2nd half, with the Cougars doing just enough to win.
NUMBER TWO MOVES ALONG AS WELL – The (2) LINDSEY WILSON COLLEGE BLUE RAIDERS advanced to the Elite Eight as well. The Blue Raiders battled the FAULKNER UNIVERSITY EAGLES for the right to move on to the quarterfinals. Faulkner got off to a 27-16 lead but Lindsey Wilson became galvanized and shrugged off their early awkward play. By halftime the Blue Raiders had fought back to within two points at 31-29.The Eagles led 58-52 with around three minutes left in the game but a home- stretch surge by Lindsey Wilson earned them the 66-60 victory.
SAGU, SAY ME – Yes, it’s a lame reference to the Lionel Ritchie song Say You, Say Me. The 6th seeded SOUTHWESTERN ASSEMBLIES OF GOD UNIVERSITY (SAGU) LIONS squared off against the MARTIN METHODIST REDHAWKS yesterday. In a very odd first half the Lions got out to an 11-0 lead but wound up trailing 26-25 by halftime. One of SAGU’s star players is named Dominique Rambo, so you could say the Lions drew First Blood (rimshot) and since what you and I call hell Rambo calls home he and his teammates were able to ride out the adversity that followed. Becoming the Redhawks’ worst nightmare SAGU went on to a 72-68 win that enabled all these Rambo jokes. Well done!
* NCCAA CONSOLATION GAMES *
FIFTH PLACE GAME – The National Christian College Athletic Association national championship game will take place Saturday at 2pm but yesterday saw the Fifth and Seventh Place games take place. The MID-AMERICA CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY EVANGELS took on the SPRING ARBOR UNIVERSITY COUGARS in this game. The Evangels lost to Shorter on Day One, then defeated Roberts Wesleyan on Day Two and took Fifth Place by winning this 74-68 affair with SAU.
SEVENTH PLACE GAME – The battle to avoid going 0-3 in the tournament was waged between the TENNESSEE TEMPLE UNIVERSITY CRUSADERS and the ROBERTS WESLEYAN COLLEGE RAIDERS. The Crusaders won the dubious distinction of seventh place with their firm and authoritative 80-61 victory over the Raiders. Both teams can hold their heads high for making the tournament in the first place. Plenty of teams would have loved to make the field of eight.
* NJCAA3 SEMIFINALS *
A GAME FOR THE AGES – The BROOKDALE COLLEGE JERSEY BLUES, who still have only ONE loss for the entire 2012-2013 campaign, took on the HERKIMER COLLEGE GENERALS for the right to advance to the championship game on Saturday. After an unforgettable game the Jersey Blues (32-1) emerged with a tight 72-69 victory over the Generals (31-4).
HARVESTING A SEMIFINAL VICTORY – The hardcourt pride of Tyler, Texas, the EASTFIELD COLLEGE HARVESTERS, squared off against the MASSBAY COLLEGE PIRATES in the other semifinal. In the end the Harvesters (29-4) came out on top in the affair with a 91-65 trouncing of the Pirates (27-7).
* NCAA DIVISON 2 *
COYOTE NOT SO UGLY – There were only four games in D2’s First Round yesterday. The other twenty- eight are played Saturday. In this 5 seed over 4 seed upset the CAL STATE- SAN BERNARDINO COYOTES (19-8) toppled the DIXIE STATE RED STORM (22-6). The final score in this mild upset was Coyotes 75 Red Storm 69. ### The 2nd seeded CAL POLY- POMONA BRONCOS (27-2) had a close call against the 7th seeded CHICO STATE WILDCATS (19-10) but won out 69-61.
DEFENDING CHAMPS ROLL – The top seeded defending champions, the WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY VIKINGS (27-2) put up a Century Club- level 102 points to the 87 scored by the 8th seeded CHAMINADE SILVERSWORDS (20-9). ### And the 3 seeds, the SEATTLE PACIFIC FALCONS (25-3), trounced the 6th seeded GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY ANTELOPES (23-7) by a score of 85-59.
* NCAA DIVISION 3 HOCKEY *
FAVORITES ARE ELIMINATED – The first semifinal yesterday provided a real surprise! Many D3 hockey fans expected the (2) NORWICH CADETS, who were dominant all season long, to take the title. The 5th seeded OSWEGO STATE LAKERS didn’t get the memo, however. The Lakers not only defeated the Cadets, they embarrassed them, doubling up on them by a final score of 6-3. Oswego State, last year’s runner- up, returns to the title game!
YET ANOTHER UPSET – In the other Frozen Four matchup from yesterday’s action the 4th seeded EAU CLAIRE BLUGOLDS clashed with the 3 seeds, the UTICA PIONEERS. The goal- tending for the Blugolds told the tale of the game, as Utica was only able to put the biscuit in the basket once. Eau- Claire advanced to the championship game with a very easy 5-1 victory.