Local News

March 15, 2014

Statesmen blow by St. Thomas (Fla.) 106-83 for quarterfinal berth


‘Ugly’ and ‘tournament win’ are rarely terms that are seen together, but after playing in one of the best games in school history in the opening round, the William Penn men’s basketball team settled for an ugly tournament win in defeating No. 11 seed St. Thomas (Fla.) in the second round of the NAIA Division II National Championships Friday.
Behind a 42-point performance by Alec Schwab, the 27th-seeded Statesmen (24-9) improbably advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinals for the second year in a row. William Penn will now meet up with No. 19 seed Robert Morris (Ill.) (25-9), which upset No. 3 Indiana-Southeast 71-66 Friday. The game is set to tip at 7 p.m. in Keeter Gymnasium.
In a tourney that featured few early upsets, the lower seeds dominated on Saturday by winning six of the eight contests. Only three of the highest 10 seeds remain as the other three quarterfinal matchups will include No. 9 Davenport (Mich.) vs. No. 17 Southeastern (Fla.), No. 5 Indiana Wesleyan vs. No. 20 Friends (Kan.) and No. 10 Midland (Neb.) vs. No. 18 Bethel (Ind.).
Despite starting after 10 p.m. yet again, the night owl Statesmen could not have had a better start, hitting its first three 3-pointers of the night to sprint out to a 9-3 advantage. The Bobcats answered the first trifecta for a 3-3 tie, but were never ahead during the evening. The hot beginning continued as William Penn went up by double digits at 21-11 just 5:01 into the game.
St. Thomas battled back to within four at 27-23 and stayed close at 34-29. The long ball was William Penn’s ally, especially in the first half (13-for-22 first half, 16-for-30 overall) as a trio of shots were again made in succession and the lowest remaining seed in the championships owned a commanding 52-35 intermission lead.
Maybe it was the fact their first-stanza triumphs came so easily or that Thursday’s double-OT thriller finally caught up to them, but the Statesmen went ice-cold from the field in the first few minutes of the second half. That allowed the Bobcats to narrow the margin to ten just 1:32 into the second period.

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