No. 3 seed William Penn (Iowa) continued its successful debut at the 2016 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship with an 86-68 win over second-seeded Columbia (Mo.). The Statesmen take on No. 1-seeded Georgetown (Ky.) in the quarterfinal round on Saturday, March 19 at 2:00 p.m. CDT.
William Penn fired off the first spark of the opening half, reeling off a 9-0 run to construct a double-digit lead, 16-5, with six minutes completed. The Statesmen held a 21-10 advantage at the midway point and carried a 40-27 advantage into intermission after shooting 43.8 percent from the field, while holding the Cougars to 31.3 percent shooting and posting a 28-14 edge on the glass.
Columbia opened the second half on fire as they used a 17-2 run, capped off by a Nic Reynolds three-pointer and layup, to gain their first lead of the game at 44-42. The tide turned just as quick back in favor of the Statesmen when Shane Bosek hit a three at the 15:23 mark to spark a 12-4 run, allowing William Penn to go back up by a 54-48 margin. A bucket by the Cougars’ Preston Whitfield cut the deficit to four, but another three by Bosek and a basket by Steven Roundtree made the score 59-50 in favor of the Statesmen with 10:42 remaining in the game.
The Statesmen led by no fewer than six points the rest of the way and eventually extended the advantage to 74-59 with an 8-2 run to the 3:59 mark.
William Penn shot 50.0 percent in the second half and completed a dominating performance inside with a 54-33 rebounding triumph that led to 21 second-chance points. Columbia finished the game shooting 32.3 percent from the field as the teams broke even with 11 turnovers apiece.
Brady Burford recorded a double-double for William Penn with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Roundtree also ended with a double-double, tallying 13 points and 12 rebounds. Kevin Smith and Bosek rounded out the double-figure scoring with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Reynolds led the Cougars with 19 points, while Travis Vogt also finished in double figures with 14 points.
“This is the first game all season that we had been pressured on the boards like we were today,” said Columbia head coach Bob Burchard. “Ultimately, it’s just difficult to watch seniors like Pep Stancil (the winningest player in program history) and Zach Rockers finish up their amazing careers. Both have made such a huge impact on the Cougar program.”
Columbia finishes its season with a 29-6 record.