Culver-Stockton knocked out the defending national champions with a 97-85 win over Concordia (Calif.) at the 2013 Buffalo-Funds NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship. The Wildcats will advance to the quarterfinals and play Georgetown (Ky.) on Saturday at 4 p.m. CDT. The event is held at Municipal Auditorium.
Austin Keaton shared game-high scoring honors with 25 points for Culver-Stockton, which has won its first two games of the tournament after a 54-year absence from the event. Marshawn Norris tallied 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals while Alen Hadzimahovic tallied 17 points and eight rebounds.
“We got off to a really good start, and that was the key,” said Culver-Stockton head coach Jack Schrader. “We got greedy and Concordia made a run. (Concordia) is a gritty with a tough bench, and they made us play a full 40 minutes. The second half we grinded it out, we started making baskets and that can demoralize a team.”
Culver-Stockton (26-8) shot 55.3 percent in the second half on the way to a 57-point output after trailing 41-40 at halftime. The Wildcats raced to a 29-16 lead, but Concordia outscored the Wildcats, 25-11, over the final 8:32 of the opening stanza.
After trading baskets to start the second half, Culver-Stockton grabbed the lead for good
despite Concordia matching nearly every bucket through the first 8:00 of the half. DeLaun Frazier nailed a three-pointer to close the gap to a point at the 11:49 mark, but the Wildcats put together one more run that proved too much to overcome.
Marshawn Norris drained a trey of his own before James Johnson threw down a dunk in transition for a five-point spurt. Dakota Downs helped cut the deficit to four with 9:56 to play, but Hadzimahovic had five points of a 7-1 burst and the Wildcats reclaimed a double-digit advantage. The lead would drop no lower than seven points and reach a game-high 15 points with 3:05 remaining following a tip-in by Mario Gulley.
“(Culver-Stockton) played very, very well today and we got beat,” said Concordia head coach Ken Ammann. “Bottom line, I could not be more proud of our team to get here. You want to come back and defend your title ,and our team fought their hearts out the last month. I am really proud of our seniors.”
Tim Harris matched Keaton with 25 points to lead five Concordia players in double figures. Frazier hit five three-pointers for his 15 points, Brandon Hucks posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Dakota Downs matched Peter Smith with 11 points while both players grabbed four rebounds.
Concordia ends its season at 23-11.