ELITE EIGHT – GAME ONE – For newbies to Balladeer’s Blog I’ll point out that Division Two uses a regional system that allows for more than just four One seeds and Two seeds. At any rate last night the 2nd seeded UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL MISSOURI MULES kicked things off in a hardcourt battle with one of the 1 seeds – the SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT STATE OWLS. The Mules had managed a little bit of separation by Halftime and led 45-39. After the break what was already a terrific game became an Instant Classic as the Owls offered an in-your- face challenge to UCM until at last the 2 seeds pulled away. In the end the Mules moved on to the Final Four with a 98-88 victory. Daylen Robinson’s 28 points led Central Missouri.
ELITE EIGHT – GAME TWO – Another One seed – the METRO STATE UNIVERSITY ROADRUNNERS – faced the only true Cinderella remaining in the NCAA Division Two tourney – the 8th seeded TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY GOLDEN TIGERS. The level of competition at last caught up with the hard-fighting Golden Tigers and by the break the Roadrunners had “beep- beeped” their way to an impressive 42-28 lead. The 2nd Half was an offensive explosion for both teams but Tuskegee was never going to win a battle of exchanging baskets and Metro State triumphed by a Century Club-worthy score of 106-87. Brandon Jefferson tossed in 26 of those 106 points to lead the Roadrunners.
ELITE EIGHT – GAME THREE – In the night’s second One seed versus Two seed clash the 2nd seeded WEST LIBERTY UNIVERSITY HILLTOPPERS had the distinction of bouncing the 1 seeds – and the defending champions – the DRURY UNIVERSITY PANTHERS. In what may have been the most-anticipated matchup of the night both teams matched each other virtually play for play with the Panthers clinging to a slight 36-34 lead at Halftime. After the break the Hilltoppers slowly but surely moved ahead and then got a little breathing room, ultimately winning the game 85-75. Seger Bonifant led West Liberty with 20 points.
ELITE EIGHT – GAME FOUR – The final berth in the 2014 Final Four in NCAA Division Two was decided in this game which pitted another One seed – the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA- AIKEN PACERS against the 4th seeded CHICO STATE WILDCATS. The Pacers were playing with a confidence gained from last season’s tournament run and by the break led the Wildcats 38-33. In the 2nd Half USC-Aiken remained in control, moving on to another Final Four with an 85-70 victory. The Pacers were led by Ronald Zimmerman, who put up THIRTY-THREE POINTS on his own.