MEN'S BASKETBALL: Advance to NAIA Sweet 16
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – NAIA No. 16 Trevecca (25-9) advance with a first round 67-58 win over No. 22 University of Mobile (22-10) in the 71st Annual NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament. Trevecca senior Josh Helton hit six three-pointers and led Trevecca with 24 points. Fellow senior Collins Onyando had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
This is the third time in four years the Trojans have advance to the Sweet 16 at the NAIA National Tournament. The Trojans will face No. 1 and undefeated (33-0) Georgetown College on Friday at 4:30 p.m.
Trevecca with an 8-2 run only to see Mobile answer with a 8-0 run to pull ahead10-8 with 15:55 to go in the half. Trevecca responded with a 14-2 run and pulled ahead by 10 points (22-12) with 10:45 to go. With 3:09 remaining Trevecca held a 17-point (36-19) lead and held a 12-point (36-22) cushion at the half. Josh Helton hit four first half three-point baskets and led the Trojans with 14 points.
Trevecca seemed to be in charge with 15:05 remaining and a 48-35 lead. The Rams responded though and took the lead (53-48) on the strength of an 18-0 run with 8:56 on the clock. Trevecca countered with a 17-2 run that put the Trojans in control again with a 10-point (65-55) lead with: 23 seconds remaining.
In addition to his double-double Onyando also added three assists, two blocks, and a steal. Helton added two assists and two steals. He was 8-15 from the field and was 6-9 from beyond the three-point arch. Christopher Harris added 10 points, including a three-pointer that ended the 18-0 Mobile run. Matthew Elliott led Trevecca with four assists.
Trevecca Head Coach Sam Harris Quotes
On the 18-0 Mobile Run:
“We quite attacking, some of our guys who played well in the first half didn’t protect the ball in the second half. We were moving the ball and playing great and it got a little physical and they got back in the game. In spite of the run, I was proud of our guys because they responded and didn’t let the game get away. I thought two things got us going again. We had a nice inbound set play bucket and Collins (Onyando) had a strong basket in transition.”
Missed Free Throws:
“Matthew Elliott of all people missed four late. He hit his first two of the night and ended his streak of 24 consecutive made free throws. But Matthew is tough as nails and he is one of our guys I’d like to have at the line with the game in the balance.”
Keys to Victory:
“We shot the ball well from the three-point line and when we needed a defensive stop we got it. Collins went up above everyone to get some big rebounds in the last five minutes to stop their momentum.”
“They are athletic and they put the ball on the floor very well. Jones (#24) really did a great job with dribble penetration and helped get them back in the game in the second half. Their pressure was effective in the second half in particular and I’m sure Georgetown was watching.”
On playing #2 and 33-0 Georgetown Friday:
“Georgetown is a very talented team. We’ll have to play great, but we have great kids and our plan will be to play smart and with attention to detail. If we do we have confidence we can compete. We’ll come ready to play and try to advance to the Elite Eight for our seniors. These seniors have been here (Sweet 16) twice and have won a lot of games. We’ll try to win another one on Friday.”
This is the fifth time Trevecca has qualified for the NAIA National Tournament. It is the fourth time under current coach Sam Harris and the third time in the last four years that TNU has advanced to the NAIA tournament. Trevecca made the tournament for the first time in 1987 and advanced to the Elite Eight. In 2005 and 2006 Trevecca advanced to the Sweet 16. The highest seed for the program was No. 8 in 1987. Trevecca has a 5-4 record in NAIA play. They have won at least one game in three of their previous four appearances and won two games in 1987.
The NAIA championship is a 32-team, single-elimination tournament featuring 16 automatic qualifiers from 11 Division I affiliated conferences, one independent qualifier, and 15 at-large berths. The tournament runs from March 19-25, 2008. The championships are held in historic Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City. The NAIA men’s tournament is the oldest basketball tournament, preceding the NCAA tournament by one year.
All games are broadcast over 89.1 and 91.5 WNAZ FM. All games are aired on the internet atwww.wnaz.com All home games have a statistical webcast available at www.tnutrojans.com