2020-21 NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship Opening Round Day Two Recap
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The 2020-21 NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship Opening Round, presented by Ballogy, came to a thrilling end on Saturday as the 16-team bracket is set for championship play in Kansas City.
Jamestown (N.D.) provided the first major upset of the opening round in its 87-75 defeat of No. 3 overall seeded LSU Shreveport (La.). The Jimmies jumped-out to an eight-point lead through the first 20 minutes and simply never looked back. Jamestown held the Pilots to under 40 percent shooting in the game and the second lowest point total of the year.
The field consists of 36 automatic qualifiers and one host berth – given to conference regular season champions, regular season runners-up, tournament champions, tournament runners-up, or a team selected by the conference in absence of a tournament, depending on the league. The number of participating teams in each league determines the number of automatic bids in each conference. Leagues that started with 10 or more schools receive two automatic berths, while conferences with less than 10 institutions receive one. If a conference started with 15 or more schools, they receive three automatic berths.
Day Two Highlights
- There were five upsets on Saturday night.
- Saint Francis (Ind.) was the first to punch its ticket to Kansas City on Saturday with a 73-65 win over Benedictine (Kan.) The Cougars trailed by four with 6:02 to play, but took control late to secure its trip to Municipal Auditorium. Dan McKeeman led the team with 20 points.
- In an old-school battle of former NAIA DI Men’s Basketball schools, William Penn (Iowa) continued its incredible season with an 85-75 win over Mid-America Christian (Okla.). The Statesmen overcame 19 turnovers in the game and shot 47.3 percent from the floor in the victory. William Penn dominated the glass and outrebounded the Evangels 52-36.
- Shawnee State (Ohio) led by eight at the half and shot 48.4 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes to secure its spot in Kansas City. The Bears had to overcome a hot-shooting WVU Tech (W.Va.) perimeter game. The Golden Bears drained 15, three-pointers in the game.
- The biggest upset of the day came in Omaha as Jamestown (N.D.) knocked-off the No. 3 overall seeded LSU Shreveport (La.). The Jimmies led by eight at the half and had four players in double figures.
- In a defensive battle, SAGU (Texas) pulled-out a nail-biter over Xavier (La.) 61-60. Tied at 57 with just under three minutes to play, the Lions pulled ahead on a bucket by Joshua Kashila and held-on to take the Alexandria Bracket B crown.
- Morningside (Iowa) shot 50 percent from the floor as Trey Brown’s double-double led the Mustangs to a 64-55 win over Thomas More (Ky.) Morningside overcame an eight-point halftime deficit to outscore the Saints 40-23 in the final frame to win Crestview Bracket B.
- Stillman (Ala.) was led by Devin Merriweather’s 16-point, eight assist outing in a 72-64 win over Keiser (Fla.). Stillman forced 14 Seahawks’ turnovers and led from the 10:51 mark of the first half through the end of the game.
- Carroll (Mont.) pulled the upset over Arizona Christian to make it back to Kansas City. The Saints were led by Shamrock Campbell’s 26 point performance where he went 4-5 from three-point range. With just a one-point lead with 47 seconds remaining, Campbell netted his final bucket of the night to extend Carroll’s lead to three with just 22 seconds left.
- Indiana Wesleyan put the hammer down early on IU South Bend (Ind.) and never looked back. The Wildcats built a 53-36 lead in the opening 20 minutes as both Kyle Mangas and Seth Maxwell led the way with 30-point performances
- Oklahoma Wesleyan was one of two teams to reach triple figures in opening round play with a shocking 100-73 upset over Science & Arts (Okla.). The Eagles shot 54.3 percent from the floor and knocked-down 15 of 31 three-point tries to punch its ticket to Municipal Arena.
- Bethel (Kan.) pulled the upset in Wichita Bracket B as it took down No. 1-seeded Northwestern (Iowa) 76-69. The Threshers were led by Clifford Byrd II with 26 points, and Jaylon Scott’s double-double (25 points, 11 rebounds).
- Faulkner (Ala.) put together one of the best offensive performances in NAIA Men’s Basketball Championship history on Saturday with a 106-73 win over Warner (Fla.). The Eagles had six finish in double digits as Trace Hill grabbed a double-double (15 points, 12 rebounds) and C.J. Williamson netted 24 points.
- Terry Smith, Jr. recorded 16 boards and 14 points as Loyola (La.) ran away with a 78-55 win over Talladega (Ala.). The Wolf Pack had three in double figures including Zach Wrightsil whom posted 25 points on the night.
- Bethel (Ind.) was the lone No. 3-seed to advance to Kansas City as TreVion Crews put-up 39 points for the Pilots in the victory.
- Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) put together a 12-point lead in the opening half as it ran away with the championship of Lewiston Bracket A, 98-73.