Sioux Falls, S.D. – No.2 seed University of Saint Francis (Ind.) pulled away from No.7 Keiser (Fla.) in the final four minutes to post an 83-73 win in the first round of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship, presented by Cypress Risk Management.
The game was crisply played, primarily in the half-court, and featured both terrific shooting and outstanding individual performances.
Senior guard Derek Hinen led Saint Francis with a current championship-best 32 points, 20 in the first half.
Chandler White (21 points and a game high eight rebounds) broke a 66-all tie with a free throw that gave the Cougars the lead for good, 67-66, with 4:08 remaining. White combined with Hinen and senior center Bryce Lienhoop (18 points) to put the game away with inside scoring and accurate free throw shooting.
Deion McClenton, Keiser’s 6’10” post presence, was magnificent in defeat with 24 points including an array of spectacular dunks. Micah Goss and Trystan Pratapas added 13 points apiece for the Seahawks.
The first half featured several outstanding scoring displays in addition to Hinen’s 20. McClenton had 16 at the intermission and both White and Pratapas had already reached double figures.
Keiser of West Palm Beach, Fla., The Sun Conference tournament runner-up, finished with a 20-11 record, while Saint Francis (Fort Wayne, Ind.) moves to 26-8.
The Cougars advances to the second round at the Sanford Pentagon on Friday, where they will meet the winner of the upcoming game between No.3 Northwestern (Iowa) and No.6 Bellevue (Neb.) at noon.