SAN ANTONIO — Josh Sanchez fell just shy of a double-double with 12 points and a career-high nine assists to lead Concordia (Texas) to an 87-83 victory against Trinity (Texas) in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday.
The Tornados, who won their first NCAA tournament game in school history, will advance to play Mary Hardin-Baylor in the second round.
The first half began as a seesaw battle and had the teams exchange leads eight times through the first 20 minutes. Terry Corprew hit a 3-pointer to give the Tornados an 11-9 advantage and created the seventh lead change with 14:43 on the clock. After Trinity went up 15-13 on a David Lacey layup, Concordia rattled off eight unanswered and used 3-pointers to start pulling away. The run was capped by a Larry Durand 3-pointer from the right arc.
Concordia, which never surrendered the lead the rest of the half, went ahead by as many as eight points by getting a 3-pointer from Nick Haynes that made it 28-20. A 3-pointer from Henry Riasco also gave the Tornados a 47-39 cushion with 1:55 left. A pair of free throws from Dwayne Patterson allowed his team to take a 49-41 lead into the intermission.
Albert Kusi set the tone for the Tornados early in the second half by making a layup on the first possession to put Concordia ahead by double figures for the first time. Terry Corprew later drained a 3-pointer that extended the lead to 14 at 66-52 with 14:29 on the clock, appearing to put Concordia in control.
Trinity (20-8), however, started chipping away at the deficit in an attempt to rally. Robert Kitzinger hit a shot from downtown to make it 69-65 with 7:52 remaining, and Lacey followed by making a bucket of his own from long range to make it a one-possession game at 71-68 just 45 seconds later.
After Nick Haynes converted a rare four-point play to build the Tornado lead back up to nine, the Tigers once again clawed their way back and brought the margin down to three when a Kitzinger 3-pointer made it 84-81. Trinity had a chance to tie the game when Kitzinger had an open look with 1:28 on the clock, but his shot rimmed out, and Brett DeMetrotion corralled the rebound. Dwayne Patterson and Brett DeMetrotion followed up by making free throws in the final minute, allowing the Tornados to survive and advance.
In addition to Sanchez, Concordia got strong performances from Haynes and Patterson. Haynes scored a team-high 15 points, while Patterson contributed 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Trinity, which was making its ninth tournament appearance, was led by Zach Lambert’s double-double performance. He finished with 20 points and 10 boards to go along with five assists. Heath Hopson and Kitzinger posted 17 and 16 points, respectively, while Kitzinger also provided eight boards and four assists in the losing effort for the Tigers.