*** NAIA ***
GAME ONE – The 10th seeded MIDLAND UNIVERSITY WARRIORS set in motion a day of reckoning for the annoyingly large number of college sports teams called Eagles. The Warriors took on the (unseeded) EMBRY-RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIVERSITY EAGLES, whom I still say should change their team’s name to the Aeronauts. Anyway, Midland University held a 38-31 Halftime lead and withstood various runs by Embry-Riddle that brought them closer throughout the 2nd Half. In the end the Warriors moved on by a score of 69-61.
GAME TWO – The 7th seeded SAINT XAVIER UNIVERSITY COUGARS kept the anti-Eagle mojo going in their clash with the (unseeded) CINCINNATI CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY EAGLES, who were making their first ever National Tournament appearance. A 10-0 run very early in the game put the Cougars up 19-4 and a 20-9 run to close the Half left them with a commanding 44-25 advantage. The Eagles closed to 54-44 with over 10 minutes to play in the game and made it a 4 point game of 61-57 at the 5:52 mark. From there SXU sprinted for an 87-71 victory.
GAME THREE – The top seeded Defending Champions of NAIA2 basketball, the CARDINAL STRITCH UNIVERSITY WOLVES, also had enough of these mother finding Eagles on this market friendly plane. The Wolves faced the (unseeded) NORTHERN NEW MEXICO COLLEGE EAGLES and sent them the way of Embry-Riddle and Cincinnati Christian. CSU led 6-0 to start the game, 34-22 at Halftime and in the end the Wolves advanced to Friday’s games by a final talley of 74-53. Three Eagle teams down, three more to go in tomorrow’s games! (I don’t count Cornerstone University since they go by the cooler nickname of Golden Eagles)
GAME FOUR – The first”Eagle-free” game of the day pitted the 9th seeded DAVENPORT UNIVERSITY PANTHERS against the (unseeded) ASHFORD UNIVERSITY SAINTS. The Panthers were putting on a defensive clinic and limited the Saints to just 21 points for the entire 1st Half to their own 29. The 2nd Half was basically a continuation of Davenport’s physical play determining the outcome of the game as the Panthers moved on in a 63-46 smackdown.
GAME FIVE – This game provided the first upset of the tournament so far. The unseeded SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY FIRE played the 16th seeded HUNTINGTON UNIVERSITY FORESTERS and trailed those Foresters by a score of 36-29 at the break. In the 2nd Half the Fire made their move and by the time all the dust had settled in the offensive explosion of the closing 20 minutes Southeastern University had won out by a final count of 84-76.
GAME SIX – There was a sort of nautical theme to this matchup which pitted the (unseeded) BETHEL (IN) COLLEGE PILOTS (riverboat pilots) against the 15 seeds, the CAL MARITIME ACADEMY KEELHAULERS. Even though they came in unseeded the Pilots brought with them a wealth of National Tournament experience. Though they trailed the Keelhaulers 37-28 at Halftime Bethel stayed cool and by the end of Regulation had tied the game up at 67-67. In the Overtime period Cal Maritime eventually lost their composure, missing shots and sending the Pilots to the charity stripe far too often. The final score in this technical upset was Pilots 85 Keelhaulers 75.
GAME SEVEN – UPSET OF THE TOURNAMENT. The (unseeded) COLLEGE OF THE OZARKS BOBCATS rose up and dragged down the SECOND SEEDED COLLEGE OF IDAHO COYOTES. The Bobcats began to assert control of the game with seven minutes to go in the 1st Half and by the break led by a score of 48-35, making the Coyote faithful nervous but controlled. The 2nd Half saw the College of Idaho pull within 2 points late in the game but the College of the Ozarks squad did just enough to win the game 88-84. Congratulations to the Bobcats.
GAME EIGHT – The final game of Day One for the NAIA2 National Tournament found the 8th seeded BELLEVUE UNIVERSITY BRUINS in combat with the (unseeded) CONCORDIA (OR) CAVALIERS. This was another Instant Classic with runs by both teams often the order of the night. The score went from 29 all late in the 1st Half to a 43-32 Bruin advantage at Halftime. A hard-fought 2nd Half saw a 12-0 run by the Cavaliers and an 8-2 run by Bellevue, and ultimately a 5-0 run to close the game gave the Bruins an 81-78 victory.
*** NCCAA ***
GAME ONE – This opening game of Day One for the NCCAA National Tournament was between the 7th seeded NORTH CENTRAL UNIVERSITY RAMS and the 10th seeded KUYPER COLLEGE COUGARS. The Rams were in control for virtually all of this contest and in the end advanced in the Winner’s Bracket, defeating the Cougars by a final score of 90-77. Up next for the Rams will be 2nd seeded Arlington Baptist College.
GAME TWO – In the only other game on Day One for the NCCAA National Tournament the 9th seeded PENSACOLA CHRISTIAN COLLEGE EAGLES battled the 8th seeded VALLEY FORGE CHRISTIAN COLLEGE PATRIOTS. The spectators got to witness a thrilling game for the ages and in the end the Eagles pulled off the mild upset, defeating the Patriots in a 75-71 hardcourt epic. Pensacola Christian College advances in the Winner’s Bracket to face top seeded Ohio Christian University next.