|Porter Morrell's big shot set off a celebration on the floor for Northwestern.
Photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
Northwestern has been to the NCAA Tournament for the past four years, and has drawn a national power in the first round each and every time. This year, the Eagles finally got past one, as Porter Morrell nailed a pull-up 3-pointer at the buzzer to knock out No. 3 St. Thomas, 71-70.
The Eagles, who nearly took down the eventual national champion Tommies in the first round in 2011, led by as many as eight points in the second half but the Tommies took the lead with 5:57 to go and it was back and forth down the stretch.
St. Thomas took a three-point lead with 20 seconds to go, but Cody Sprenger hit a huge 3 with 13 seconds left to tie the game. Grant Shaeffer answered with a layup to give St. Thomas a 70-68 lead with 6.2 seconds left, but Northwestern pushed the ball up the floor and Morrell buried a straight-on look from about 25 feet at the buzzer to set off the celebration at St. Norbert. Morrell finished with a game-high 18.
In the game that followed, Kyle Wuest scored a game-high 32 points, including a key 3-pointer with three seconds left in the first overtime, as Elmhurst outlasted No. 5 St. Norbert 110-98. Wuest scored 31 of his points after halftime. It was the seventh three-overtime game in Division III men's basketball NCAA Tournament history, and the first since the epic Guilford-Lincoln battle in 2007. St. Norbert played and lost in one of the other triple-overtime games as well, falling to UW-Whitewater 87-84 in the second round in 1984.
On the opposite side of the bracket, Defiance went on a 19-6 run in the second half and buried UW-Whitewater's hopes of defending its national title as the Yellowjackets downed the No. 2-ranked Warhawks 83-71. Travis Schomaeker, a finalist for the Jostens Trophy, was 6-for-8 from 3-point range en route to a game-high 26 points, while Bernard Edwards added 21 in the win. K.J. Evans finished with 17 for the Warhawks.
|Eric Dean helped Babson not get upset, with 12 points, shooting 4-for-5 from the floor.
Babson athletics photo
Let's see, who wasn't upset? Well, No. 4 Babson and No. 7 Albertus Magnus each had some breathing room, as the Beavers defeated Westfield State 75-62 behind 28 points from Joey Flannery and Victor Ljuljdjuraj had 16 points and 14 boards to lead the Falcons past Springfield 68-58. And of course, No. 1 Randolph-Macon had a bye and will host Catholic on Saturday afternoon, while No. 6 Augustana rested and hosts DePauw on Saturday night.
Whitworth broke a halftime tie with a huge second half, defeating LaGrange 88-60 at Emory University in Atlanta. The win gave Pirates coach Matt Logie his 100th career win, which made him the first coach in Division III history to win 100 games in his first four seasons.
John Carroll took a two-point lead midway through the second half, but Virginia Wesleyan answered with a 13-2 run and outscored John Carroll 27-10 in the final 10-plus minutes to pull away to a 101-86 win. The ninth-ranked Marlins await William Paterson, which cruised past SUNY-Cobleskill.
Luis Garcia shot 6-for-8 from the floor, all of them from beyond the arc, as Marietta poured in 21 3-pointers en route to a 120-81 win vs. Medaille. Marietta had 66 points at the half, which is more than 12 teams scored for their entire games on Friday night, including Trinity (Conn.), which beat Colby-Sawyer 60-55.
Optimystik Kinard poured in 19 of his game-best 22 points in the opening 20 minutes as host St. John Fisher shot a sizzling 73.1% in the first half, including 9-of-11 from 3-point land, en route to a 76-70 victory over WPI. The Engineers trailed by 21 at the half but cut the deficit all the way to two points with 2:02 left before Charles McVay hit a 3-pointer and Tyler Hart hit three of four free throws to ice the game.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time since 1996 -- so long ago that the team they beat, Upper Iowa, has been out of Division III for more than a decade. On Friday night the Stags advanced behind 23 points from Tyler Gaffaney, including a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor in the second half. CMS will play host East Texas Baptist, which pulled away from Hendrix in the second half of a 79-59 victory.
|Trevor Seibring had a big night inside for Illinois Wesleyan.
Photo by Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com
Calvin shot 12-for-24 from 3-point range and placed five scorers in double figures in a 78-69 win vs. Oswego State. The Knights will be a good match for host Mount Union, which went 15-for-31 from beyond the arc and also had five players in double figures in an 87-59 win vs. Neumann.
Wyatt Smith shot an incredible 16-for-20 from the floor en route to 37 points as Salisbury's run continued with a 66-54 win vs. Eastern Connecticut. It's Salisbury's 10th consecutive win, as the Sea Gulls were upset winners of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament.
Bryce Dolan scored a game-high 16 points and Trevor Seibring added 14 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, but it was the defensive job Illinois Wesleyan did on Dubuque's Andre Norris, holding him to 3-for-16 shooting and 0-for-6 from beyond the arc that was the difference in a 72-53 win. (Photo gallery) That victory, along with UW-Stevens Point rolling past Concordia (Wis.), set up two of the most storied programs in the midwest for a second-round matchup.