Defending champion Drury survives Wisconsin-Parkside 69-64
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Cameron Adams scored 19 points and Kameron Bundy added 14 points to lead top seed and defending national champion Drury to a 69-64 victory against No. 8 seed Wisconsin-Parkside in an NCAA-II Midwest Regional opening round game before 2,141 fans Saturday night at the O'Reilly Family Event Center.
Drury picked up its 24th consecutive victory .
Down by seven points midway through the opening half, coach Steve Hesser's Panthers rallied to finish the half with a 10-0 spurt that produced a 33-26 halftime advantage.
The Panthers would lead by as many as 15 points (54-39) with 8:25 left before the Rangers (23-7) sliced into that quickly with an 11-1 run that made it 55-50 with under five minutes left.
But Parkside could get no closer than four (65-61 with 13 seconds left) the rest of the way, as Drury hit enough free throws down the stretch including 5 of 6 from senior Lonnie Boga in the final 18 seconds) to seal the win, with no length-of-the-floor drama necessary like in Drury's 54-52, last-second win against the Rangers at The O' on Feb. 13.
Drury outrebounded the Rangers 43-37, despite allowing 15 boards (to go with 16 points) to Zygimantas Riauka. Adams grabbed seven boards and Bundy and Ian Carter had six rebouns each to lead the Panthers.
But Hesser again was quick to praise the hustle plays of junior guard Ben Fisher off the bench to give the Panthers a much-needed spark. Fisher had four rebounds in 14 minutes of action and hit his only shot - a 3-pointer - at a crucial time in the second half, helping to stave off a mini-rally from the Rangers at the time.
Parkside coach Luke Riegel said the game "quite honestly, feels like the same game we played here the last time, without the drama at the end."
Wendell Pierre had five assists for the Panthers, who also got four steals from Bundy.
Drury made just 41 percent of its shots (24 of 58), but held the Rangers to 40 percent (23 of 58), including 5-of-24 from 3-point range.
The Panthers moved to 12-1 this season in games decided by five points or less.