College of the Ozarks (Mo.) advances to the second round for the fourth straight year with a 71-60 win over #14 Aquinas College (Mich.) The 18th-annual event is being held at the Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of the College of the Ozarks (Mo.).
Eight straight points scored by Corey Stone put Ozarks ahead by two, 10-8, early on in the first half. Aquinas briefly took the lead back only to have the Bobcats open up a five point advantage, 26-21. A three-pointer by John Lierman just before the half put the score at 26-24 as the teams went into the locker room.
The Saints tied the game at 26 but a 7-0 run by Ozarks gave the Bobcats the lead for good with 14 minutes left to play.
Ozarks was led by senior guard Corey Stone who erupted for 36 points, 24 in the second half. Stone made 12-of-23 field goal attempts, 4-of-10 from beyond the arc and was perfect from the foul line (8-8). Scott McElvain netted 15 points and tied Stone for the team lead with seven rebounds. Ozarks won the battle of the boards, 38-26, and shot 42% from the floor.
Making its fourth straight tournament appearance, Aquinas was led by returning All-Americans John Lierman and Pedja Lazic with 20 and 19 points, respectively. Lierman connected on a tournament high six three-pointers, five of which came in the opening half. James Telman added 11 points for the Saints. Aquinas ends the season with a 24-10 overall record.
College of the Ozarks (22-10) advances to the second round where they will face the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.) on Friday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m. The 32-team, single elimination tournament concludes March 17, 2009.