Sioux Falls, S.D. – It wasn’t easy, especially early, but Cornerstone (Mich.), top seeded in the Liston bracket and ranked second in the nation, regrouped to post a convincing 92-73 win over Southwestern (Kan.) Friday afternoon at the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship.
The Golden Eagles quickly fell behind by ten and with player-of-the-year candidate Kyle Steigenga banished to the bench with a two foul impost, they appeared to be in trouble. Senior guard Michael Bradshaw took over, scoring 15 of his co-game high 25 points in a six-minute span that erased the deficit and sent Cornerstone to the locker room up 45-36.
“He brought us together and said we needed to get stops but I also knew we needed some offense and once I hit one of those, things started to roll,” commented Bradshaw after the game.
The second half was routine as the Golden Eagles substituted liberally after pushing their lead to 28.
Bradshaw led Cornerstone with 25. Steigenga added 21 and Sam Vander Sluis added 17 and 14 rebounds.
Cameron Hunt, the tournament’s leading scorer coming into the event (23.5ppg) led the Moundbuilders with 25 points.
Said Cornerstone head coach Kim Elders, “They did a great job of getting in the lane and attacking our interior and Hunt is a really good player. We talked about limiting their dribble penetration and then we got some big stops that led to transition buckets.”
Cornerstone (now 30-4) moves forward to Saturday’s quarterfinal where they will meet the University of Saint Francis (Ind.), a winner earlier in the day over Northwestern (Iowa). Southwestern end their season at 27-8.