Evangel College (Springfield) earned it’s first trip to the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament since 2002 with a last second, 68-66 win over William Jewell in the Heart Of America Conference Tournament Finals Monday.
EC’s Jackson Capel made good on a 15-foot jumper with 0.9 seconds to go to break a 66-66 tie and give the fourth-seeded Crusaders the win over the top-seeded Cardinals in Liberty. Evangel, which is ranked 20th in the latest NAIA Division II poll, improved to 22-10 and will be one of 32 teams at the national tournament on the campus of College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri next week.
William Jewell, ranked 12th in the latest poll, dropped to 26-7 and will likely receive an at-large bid. There are currently two other Missouri schools in the poll: College of the Ozarks, which is ranked fourth and Lindenwood University, which is ranked sixth.
C. of O. will again enjoy home-court advantage at the tournament, after winning the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament with a 74-73 over York College (Nebraska) in the championship game on Saturday. College of the Ozarks is 22-5.
Lindenwood, which is 23-9, lost to Evangel at the HAAC Tournament this weekend.