*** NAIA ***
ELITE EIGHT, FIRST BERTH – This was a 6 seed over a 2 seed upset which saw 7 ties and 5 lead changes. The (6) TABOR COLLEGE BLUEJAYS kept their Upset Mojo going against the (2) ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY (IL) EAGLES (Should be the Wind Eagles).
The Bluejays had seized a 47-39 lead by Halftime, then made good on that with an 88-82 win to send the Eagles home. Lance Carter led the upstart Tabor College team with his Double Double of 24 points and 10 rebounds.
ELITE EIGHT, SECOND BERTH – The (1) BETHEL COLLEGE (IN) PILOTS (Riverboat Pilots) took the court against the (4) EASTERN OREGON UNIVERSITY MOUNTAINEERS in this game.
The Pilots ensured that the Mountaineers never knew what hit them, clobbering them so thoroughly that by the break Bethel College led the game 60-31!! From there the Pilots coasted to a Century Club-level 104-71 triumph and a berth in the Elite Eight. Clay Yeo and Caleb Oetjen tossed in 16 points each to lead Bethel College, while posting 9 and 4 rebounds, respectively.
ELITE EIGHT, THIRD BERTH – One of the 1 seeds – the UNION COLLEGE BULLDOGS – got a wakeup call from their 5th seeded opponents, the COLLEGE OF IDAHO COYOTES.
At the midpoint of the game the Bulldogs were on top of the Coyotes 43-38 but then had to hold on by their fingertips to withstand a College of Idaho rally in the 2nd Half. In the end Union College survived in an 83-82 nailbiter. Twenty-seven points from Paul Stone led the Bulldogs.
ELITE EIGHT, FOURTH BERTH – This was a case of Trojan on Trojan violence as the (3) TRINITY INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY TROJANS did battle with the (7) TAYLOR UNIVERSITY TROJANS.
Trinity International had to play the role of Comeback Kids, trailing Taylor University at the Half by a score of 37-22 before coming alive after the break to notch a 74-72 victory. The winners were led by Luke Mead with 18 points, while Jeremy Carlyle contributed 16 points and Zach Kirschbaum recorded a Double Double of 14 points and 14 rebounds.
ELITE EIGHT, FIFTH BERTH – The (1) INDIANA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY WILDCATS – the defending National Champions – moved on at the expense of the (4) NORTHWESTERN (IA) COLLEGE RED RAIDERS.
The Red Raiders had actually eked out a 38-36 edge over the Wildcats by Halftime but in the 2nd Half Indiana Wesleyan University proved once again that you should never underestimate the heart of a champion. It was an exhausting battle but in the end the Wildcats prevailed 77-75. Bob Peters led IWU with 22 points.
ELITE EIGHT, SIXTH BERTH – Up next was another Double Digit comeback, this one featuring the (6) BELLEVUE UNIVERSITY BRUINS over the (7) YORK (NE) COLLEGE PANTHERS.
At the break an upset seemed in the offing as the Panthers led the Bruins 39-28. Bellevue University came out of the locker room primed for action and won this Instant Classic by a final tally of 78-76. The Bruins’ Mike Cardenas nailed 24 points to lead the victors.
ELITE EIGHT, SEVENTH BERTH – This game pitted the (2) INDIANA UNIVERSITY EAST RED WOLVES against the (3) NORTHWEST CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY BEACONS.
A very hard-fought opening Half ended with the Red Wolves on top of the Beacons by a count of 35-30. After the break the two teams exchanged basket after basket for a 73-68 Indiana University East win. Jacoby Claypool’s 14 points led the way for the Red Wolves.
ELITE EIGHT, FINAL BERTH – All four 1 seeds advanced, a feat completed by the (1) CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY GOLDEN EAGLES, who defeated the (4) UNIVERSITY OF SAINT FRANCIS (IN) COUGARS.
The Golden Eagles battled their way to a 35-29 Halftime advantage over the Cougars, then eliminated USF with a 66-58 triumph. Reliable Kyle Steigenga put up 22 points to lead Cornerstone University, while his teammate Sam Vander Sluis logged a Double Double of 12 points and SEVENTEEN rebounds.
*** NCCAA2 ***
FIRST SEMIFINAL – The 4th seeded RANDALL UNIVERSITY SAINTS are the Defending National Champions because last year they won under their old name of Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College. In this game the Saints faced the top seeded GRACE BIBLE COLLEGE (MI) TIGERS in a rematch of the 2016 title tilt.
These rivals ended the 1st Half with Randall University on top of the Tigers by a scant 39-38. The 2nd Half was equally hard-fought, ending in a 71-71 tie. In the Overtime session the Saints outscored Grace Bible College 14-11 for an 85-82 victory and a return to the Championship Game. Xavier Hunter – Agent Zero himself – led Randall U with 23 points and 6 rebounds.
SECOND SEMIFINAL – Another upset was in store in this game, which saw the (7) KENTUCKY CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY KNIGHTS take the court against the (3) UNIVERSITY OF VALLEY FORGE PATRIOTS.
The Knights put the Patriots on Upset Alert by Halftime with a 38-35 advantage over them. The University of Valley Forge did not go gently into that good night, however, and forced Overtime through a 75-75 tie to end Regulation. This second OT game of the night wound up being won by Kentucky Christian University 86-85. Hayden Dunn led the Knights with his Double Double of 25 points and 11 rebounds.