Evangel University built an 19-point lead and then held on at the end, as the unseeded Crusaders grabbed a 67-66 win over 11th-seeded Wayland Baptist from Texas at the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament in Kansas City. The Crusaders advance to the second round for the fourth time in the last five appearances in the national championship. Evangel will take on 6th seeded Dalton State Friday morning at 9am.
Columbia College plays at 12:30, and Missouri Valley tips at 6:15. Over at the Independence Center in Independence, Mo., the William Woods women will play their opening round game against 2nd seeded Bethel Tennessee at 6:15.
After Evangel built a 19 point lead with 10:20 to play, Wayland Baptist scored 11-straight in a span of 3:18, trimming the deficit to eight. Evangel held its last double-digit advantage at 66-56 with 2:08 to play on a three-pointer. Wayland Baptist held Evangel without a field goal over the final two minutes and scored eight-straight points to pull within two with 45 seconds left. The Crusaders got a free throw from Brodie Wingert and Wayland followed with a lay-up with 30 seconds remaining. Josh Veurink was fouled and but missed both free throws with 20 seconds to play. The Pioneers had two shots at the basket in the final seconds, but missed both and time expired.