Another Game, Another Survival for WPU

William Penn survived Dalton State to move on to the quarterfinals against Our Lady of the Lake (Tex.)

William Penn survived Dalton State to move on to the quarterfinals against Our Lady of the Lake (Tex.)

by Wade Steinlage

Kansas City, Mo.–The Statesmen men’s basketball was again forced to play a slow-down style and had to go to an extra session, but somehow came up with enough plays down the stretch to advance as it defeated Dalton State (Ga.) 68-64 in overtime in the second round of the NAIA Division I National Championships Friday.

With the win, #1 William Penn (29-4) will now face #6 seed Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) Saturday in the quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. It will be the first time the two programs have met on the hardwood.

It is the third-consecutive year that WPU has reached the quarterfinal round and the fifth time in the last six seasons.

Despite dominating the shooting category at 44.2%-30.0% and crushing the fourth-seeded Roadrunners (25-9) on the glass at 50-36, the navy and gold were never in the clear and actually needed OT to settle the score.

It was evident a low-scoring affair was in the works as WPU scored the game’s first seven points, but that came in a span of 6:34. DSU had a scheme to slow down the nation’s top-scoring program and executed the plan well, not starting most of its possessions until there were only 10 seconds left on the shot clock.

The Roadrunners finally got on the board and answered with eight in a row and the matchup went back and forth from there with six ties and 10 lead changes.

The Statesmen led 34-30 at half with a 50.0%-33.3% shooting edge, while Dalton State stayed close due to 10 WPU turnovers. Corbin Medley (Sr., Rogersville, Mo., Business Management) kept his squad on top by knocking down four three-pointers at that juncture. The senior led WPU with 14 points.

It did not get any prettier for William Penn following intermission; the team finished with 18 turnovers (just six for DSU). The Roadrunners turned those extra opportunities into a 19-5 advantage in points off mistakes.

WPU was in a heap of trouble late, trailing 56-51 with 3:26 to go, but rallied back with an 8-2 run, including three buckets in a row by Dominique Shaw (Sr., Lufkin, Texas, Wellness and Recreation). Shaw finished with 11 in the victory.

The lead grew to two with 15 seconds left courtesy of a defensive stop and then a free throw by Antonio Foster (Jr., Chicago, Ill., Sports Management), but a foul gave DSU a chance to tie it back up and it did, making it 60-60 with eight seconds left.

Coming out of a Statesmen timeout, Terrell Thompson (Sr., Indianapolis, Ind., Wellness and Recreation) received the inbounds pass and drove the entire length of the floor. The senior laid the ball off the glass, but it would not drop. Fortunately, D’Angelo Allen (Jr., Dallas, Texas, Wellness and Recreation) was Johnny-On-The-Spot and tipped the ball in with 1.2 seconds to go.

Unfortunately, a questionable foul was called on the other end of the court and the Roadrunners cashed in on both charity stripe throws with no time on the clock to force overtime tied at 62-62.

The sides exchanged points in the first half of the additional period, but JC Washington (Sr., Houston, Texas, Sociology) gave the Statesmen the lead for good on a shot with 1:31 to go.

Washington, who had a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds, also blocked five shots, including doing so with 20 seconds left with the Statesmen ahead just 65-64. Thompson corralled the loose ball and was fouled. He made the first of two free throws to push the lead to 66-64.

Foster then tallied the biggest rebound of the game, the 20th offensive board for William Penn, as Thompson missed his second attempt. Medley was fouled on the ensuing inbounds play and connected on both free throws and the Statesmen escaped for the second night in a row.

“A number of things did not go our way tonight,” Head Coach John Henry said. “In all honesty, we should have lost, especially if you look at the stat sheet.”

“We are not playing well, but we have advanced,” Henry added. “Hopefully, we can play better tomorrow.”

Foster just missed double figures with nine, while Thompson had seven (seven assists as well) and Aakim Saintil (Sr., West Orange, N.J., Business Management) added six. Allen also recorded five points.

The Statesmen permitted 19 offensive rebounds by the Roadrunners, but still outscored their foes 17-14 in second-chance points.

William Penn also overcame a tough effort at the line (14-for-26), while Dalton State finished 17-for-21. The victors were much better from deep, however, going 8-for-16, while the Roadrunners ended up 5-for-25.

“Our bench was huge, including D’Angelo, Antonio, and Corbin,” Henry said. “This is a game we will talk about for a long time. We gutted out a win tonight. These guys have overcome a lot lately and tonight was no different.”

Tournament coverage made possible with support from:

Wyndell Campbell State Farm, Clow Valve Company, Penn Central Mall, Gardner Collier Jewelry, MidWestOne Bank, Legacy Real Estate, Mahaska Communication Group, Langkamp Funeral Chapel & Crematory, Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy, and Mahaska Health Partnership.

MidWestOne Insurance Services, Interiors by Val, Boyle & Henderson, Stam Greenhouse, EyeCare Partners, Mahaska Drug, and United Way.

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Posted by on Mar 17 2018. Filed under College Sports, Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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