March 7, 2009

Courtesy of Capital

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Senior guard Jamie Yoder (West Holmes, Ohio/West Holmes HS) sank two free throws with 21 seconds left and Capital University's men's basketball team survived an upset bid from Thomas More College, winning 80-77 in overtime in the first round of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championships Friday at The Capital Center.

Tied at 77 in the extra session, Yoder was fouled grabbing a rebound in the backcourt and hit both of his free throw attempts. The Saints missed a three-pointer with eight seconds left, and sophomore guard D.J. Frazier (Cincinnati, Ohio/Withrow HS) hauled in that rebound and was fouled.

Frazier split his free throws, but a half-court 3-point attempt by the Saints hit the front of the rim at the buzzer.

Capital (25-4) moves on to face the College of Wooster at 7 p.m. Saturday in the second round, also in The Capital Center. The Scots defeated Gettysburg College 79-66 in other first round action.

The Saints went on an 8-0 run and tied the game at 73 with one minute left. Frazier had a pair of shots blocked near the end of regulation, and Romell Salone's desperation three-pointer as time expired drew iron but bounced off to send the game to overtime.

"Thomas More had a great gameplan, attacking us and putting us in situations we didn't want to be in," said Capital head coach Damon Goodwin. "We didn't play very smart down the stretch, but we also had some wide-open shots that didn't fall."

Brian Muse's jump shot in the paint gave the Saints their final lead of the game at 77-75 with 2:30 left in overtime. Senior forward Casey Brown (Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Ready) hit two free throws a minute later to tie the game.

"This was win or go home time, being in the tournament," said sophomore forward Adam Johns (St. Marys, Ohio/St. Marys Memorial HS), who scored a career-high 22 points off the bench for Capital. "We knew we'd have to bring our best effort."

The Saints seized control early in the first half with a 9-0 run that erased a 12-9 Capital lead. Thomas More led by as many as eight points (25-17) on Kurt Bovard's three-pointer with 8:34 left in the half, but Capital climbed back and tied the game at 34 when Johns made a lay-up off a feed from senior guard Ryan Wood (Pickerington, Ohio/Central HS). Thomas More took a 38-36 lead into halftime.

Capital re-took the lead at 41-40 two and a half minutes into the second half on a short runner by Frazier. After the Saints pushed back in front by one, senior forward Quintin Mitchell (Toledo, Ohio/Libbey HS) scored back-to-back baskets that put the Crusaders ahead 55-52 with 11:24 left. Johns and Wood both followed with jumpers, and senior guard Nate Stahl (St. Henry, Ohio/St. Henry HS) added a lay-up to give Capital its biggest lead at 61-52 at the 9:19 mark.

Thomas More came back, as the Crusaders turned the ball over six times in a four-minute stretch. Brian Muse's jumper in the paint capped a 6-0 surge that made the score 66-63. Frazier, though, hit another runner in the lane, and a Jake Fanning (Danbury, Ohio/Marblehead HS) free throw and Wood lay-up saw the lead bump back to eight with 2:20 left.

Stahl scored 16 points, and Frazier and Wood each had 11. Mitchell grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench, as Capital made 31-of-62 shots from the floor but was hurt by 18 turnovers.

NOTES: Capital is making its 11th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, while this was Thomas More's first time in the postseason...Thomas More head coach John Ellenwood was an assistant at Capital before taking over as the Saints head coach in 2006...All 11 Saints who played in the first half scored at least two points...In the first half, both teams hit 13-of-30 (43.3 percent) from the field, went 3-for-10 from 3-point range, had 18 rebounds and eight turnovers...Capital's 25th win is a program record. The Crusaders won 24 games last season, and the victory kept Capital at a perfect 14-0 at home.