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NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship Day One Recap

by | Mar 19, 2021 | Basketball Blogs, RRSN News | 0 comments

KANSAS CITY, Mo. –  A pair of upsets in the final two games highlighted a thrilling day of action at the 2021 NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship. After No. 13-seeded Jamestown (N.D.) defeated No. 4 Faulkner (Ala.) 88-83, the Bethel Pilots played giant-killers after knocking-off conference foe, No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan in the nightcap.

No. 9 St. Francis (Ind.) def. No. 8 Stillman (Ala.), 69-67

No. 5 Shawnee State (Ohio) def. No. 12 Bethel (Kan.), 69-59

No. 13 Jamestown (N.D.) def. No. 4 Faulkner (Ala.), 88-83

No. 16 Bethel (Ind.) def. No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan, 83-77

News and Notes

Game 1 – St. Francis (Ind.) def. Stillman (Ala.), 69-67

Stillman – No. 8 (Naismith)

4th overall national tournament appearance (First appearance as an NAIA member in the Round of 16)

Ranked No. 7 in the NAIA with 14.1 offensive rebounds per game prior to today’s contest

Despite the loss, Stillman won the rebounding battle with a hefty 42-26 advantage

The reserves for the Tigers outscored the St. Francis bench, 16-6

Every Stillman athlete that played scored at least five points, with eight players scoring six or more

Roger Davis led the Tigers with 16 points on a 6-for-13 showing from the floor, followed by Devin Merriweather’s 15 points (6-for-14 from the field)

Virgil Fields led all competitors on the glass with 12 rebounds (3 offensive)

St. Francis – No. 9 (Naismith)

13th overall appearance

The Cougars have now won nine of their last ten games, dating back to Feb. 3

Forced 22 turnovers for the Tigers while only committing nine of their own

Currently leads the NAIA with 352 three-pointers on the season and ranks 2nd with 550 assists on the season

St. Francis notched seven shots from beyond the arc while limiting Stillman to just three from long distance

Antwaan Cushingberry led all scorers with 28 points after a 50 percent showing from the field

Jalan Mull and David Ejah also finished in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively

Game 2 – No. 5 Shawnee State (Ohio) def. No. 12 Bethel (Kan.), 69-

Shawnee State – No. 5 (Cramer)

Currently riding a 24-game winning streak, dating back to Dec. 5

EJ Onu led all scorers en route to a triple-double performance: 29 points, 10 blocks, 10 rebounds

Less than 10 athletes have posted 10 blocks or more throughout the entire men’s basketball tournament since 2006-07

James Jones added 17 points, followed by Donovan Carlisle who chipped in with 11 points

Finished shooting 38.2 percent from the field, 22.7 percent from long range, and 85.7 percent from the free throw line

Bethel – No. 12 (Cramer)

First Round of 16 appearance

Had eight players score in the contest, led by Clifford Byrd II with 16 points

Jaylon Scott recorded his 19th double-double of the season with a 10 point, 10 rebound showing. Nick Bonner and Bryant Mocaby also notched 10 points each

Tavaughn Flowers led the Threshers with six assists

Shot 28.2 percent from the floor, 20.7 percent from beyond the arc, and 68.4 percent from the charity stripe

Game 3 – No. 13 Jamestown (N.D.) def. No. 4 Faulkner (Ala.), 88-83

Faulkner – No. 4 (Cramer)

12th appearance (now 11-10 all-time at nationals)

This was the first trip to Municipal for the squad since March 2016

C.J. Williamson led all scorers on the night with a 28 point performance and added 10 rebounds

Jordan Hamlette poured in 23 points on a 10-for-16 showing

Austin Rogers (12 points) and Garrett Sanderson (11 points) also finished in double figures

Faulkner won the turnover battle after committing nine and forcing 19

The Eagles shot 50 percent from the field, 35.7 percent from the three-point line, and 66.7 from the charity stripe

Jamestown – No. 13 (Cramer)

11th appearance (now 7-10 all-time at nationals)

Mason Walters and Marc Kjos each poured in 26 points

Walters notched a double-double after grabbing 12 rebounds

Will Cordes also finished in double figures with 12 points

The Jimmies got hot from distance and knocked down 13 three-pointers (eight from Kjos)

Won the rebounding battle at a 36-28 margin

Shot 55 percent from the floor, 48.3 percent from beyond the arc, and 80 percent from the free throw line

Game 4 – No. 16 Bethel (Ind.) def. No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan, 83-77

Indiana Wesleyan – No. 1 (Naismith)

14th appearance (31-9 all0time record at nationals)

Won the battle of the boards with a 47-38 advantage

Kyle Mangas led the Wildcats with 22 points and six assists

Seth Maxwell chimed in with a 16 point, 14 rebound double-double performance while also adding four blocks

Dylan Alderson rounded out the double figure performers with 13 points

The Wildcats recorded seven blocked shots and had eight scorers in the game

Finished shooting 426. percent from the field, 35.7 percent from the three-point line, and 81.8 percent from the charity stripe

Bethel – No. 16 (Naismith)

17th appearance (32-13 all-time record at nationals)

Just the 7th time since 1957 that the No. 1 seed has lost in the first round of the final site

TreVion Crews led the way with 29 points, seven assists, and six rebounds

Jared DeHart (20 points) and Jani Griffith (10 points) also notched double digit performances

Only committed six turnovers while forcing 17, outscoring the Wildcats 25-7 in the points off turnovers column

Shot 41 percent from the floor, 35 percent from beyond the arc, and 70.6 percent from the free throw line