March 4, 2014

Surge sends Penn back to nationals


A squad nearly void of any familiarity to the Big Dance will make a very familiar trip for the program as the Statesmen men’s basketball team used a huge second half to defeat No. 5 seed Grand View 94-75 in the Midwest Collegiate Conference Tournament Finals Sunday.
Second seed William Penn (22-9) earned its third straight bid to the NAIA Division II National Championships and fifth all-time by outscoring the Vikings (17-14) 52-30 after intermission. The tournament will be contested in Point Lookout, Mo., on the campus of College of the Ozarks from March 12-18. The Statesmen will find out who their first-round opponent is Wednesday at 8 p.m. during the NAIA’s live-streamed selection show on www.naia.org
William Penn is 4-4 all-time at nationals, including last year’s championship game appearance. The squad is now 4-1 at home in tournament championship games, including winning the last four. The Statesmen also improve to 4-4 all-time in MCC Tournament Finals.
      William Penn scored exactly 94 points for the third straight time against Grand View, but that tally seemed like a far reach after the hosts struggled from the floor in the first 20 minutes.
The Statesmen scored the game’s first five points, but were outshot 41.7 percent to 34.1 percent in the opening period, including a 42.1 percent to 25 percent deficit from beyond the arc. The stanza included seven ties and five lead changes with the Vikings up 45-42 as the buzzer sounded. Both sides were perfect at the free-throw line at that juncture (William Penn 8-for-8; Grand View 7-for-7).
The second half started the same as the first with William Penn getting the first five points to take back the lead. The Vikings had the next four, but a 12-0 run by the higher seed in a span of 3:15 gave the Statesmen the advantage for good.

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