Bearcats out of NAIA
Point Lookout, Mo. — On a day when American Mideast Conference teams were running through the NAIA Tournament, it seemed destined that St. Vincent would complete a 3-for-3 day.
It wasn’t meant to be. St. Vincent, which had swept unbeaten to an AMC championship, came up short to Indiana Tech on Friday, losing 95-85 in overtime and falling from the NAIA Tourney in the Sweet 16 round for the third consecutive season.
The third-seeded Bearcats (25-5) weren’t the biggest upset victims of the day, that honor belonged to top seed William Jewell, which fell to another AMC team, Cedarville, earlier in the day.
But St. Vincent losing was a huge surprise to the crowd that nearly filled Keeter Gymnasium, on the campus of College of the Ozarks.
In the end, foul trouble on point guard Kenny Roberts, and a lack of balanced scoring that had propelled St. Vincent to a win in Round One, proved fatal.
It was a bitter pill for the senior-dominated St. Vincent team.
As coach D.P. Harris had said before the game, “If we lose, it’s a major disappointment, for the coaches, the players, and the institution.”
That was true on all counts.
St. Vincent never has advanced past the Elite Eight round in this NAIA Division II national tourney, but this had been perceived as the chance to make history.
A late 3-pointer by Felix Indaye in regulation tied the game at 74-74 and gave St. Vincent a second chance in overtime.
But Tech (26-7) dominated the overtime session, hitting foul shots and forcing St. Vincent into miss after miss from the field.
Roberts fouled out at 1:03 of overtime, with St. Vincent trailing 84-80.
Tony Washam led the St. Vincent in scoring with 36 points and Jeff Mallory added 18.
Tech’s JuJuan Cooley scored 32 and Kendrick Cornelius had 26.
It was sweet revenge for Indiana Tech, which had lost last year to St. Vincent, 113-96 in the first round of the NAIA Tournament.