KANSAS CITY, Mo. - 3/16/2007 - by Scott Cummings, NAIA Media Coordinator
Bulldogs reach NAIA quarterfinal round for first time since 1999
No. 12 seed Union University (Tenn.) held on down the stretch for an 82-81 win Friday against No. 5 Southern Nazarene University (Okla.) in the second round of the 2007 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship at Municipal Auditorium.
Southern Nazarene nearly overcame a seven-point deficit in the final 45 seconds of play, but a potential game-winning shot came up short at the buzzer to give Union the win. The Bulldogs improve to 25-9 overall and will play in Saturday's quarterfinal round against No. 4 Concordia University (Calif.). Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. CDT.
Senior guard Mack Bealim scored 15 of his team-high 27 points in the second half to lead Union. Freshman forward Tacuma Alexander chipped in with 16 points and four assists, while sophomore forward Brian Lake notched 12 of his 15 points in the final 20 minutes of play for the Bulldogs.
Union led 35-34 at the half when the teams traded baskets and leads throughout the second half. In all, there were 14 ties and five lead changes. The Bulldogs grabbed the lead for good at the 6:23 mark when senior center Ben Frederick scored on a lay-up. Union eventually stretched the margin to eight points before Southern Nazarene began to chip away at the deficit.
The Crimson Storm trailed 79-72 when senior guard Leroy Dawson drilled a 25-footer to cut the margin to 79-75 with 36 seconds on the clock. Lake made one of two free throws to push the Union lead back to 80-75 when Dawson made his second consecutive three-pointer to bring Southern Nazarene within 81-78 with 21 seconds left.
Lake went one of two from the line again, and Dawson connected on another three-point shot with 10 seconds remaining to trim the deficit to 82-81. Alexander was fouled but missed two free throws at the six-second mark. Southern Nazarene pushed the ball up court, but Dawson's off-balance 17-foot baseline shot was off the mark at the final buzzer.
Dawson poured in a game-high 29 points to lead Southern Nazarene. Senior forward Mildon Ambres posted 15 points and a team-high 10 rebounds for the Crimson Storm, who end their season with an overall record of 28-7.
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