Edinboro cruises past Indiana (Pa.)
Fighting Scots collect 30th win, advance to next round
EDINBORO, Pa. -- Top-seeded Edinboro advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday night with a 70-56 win against Indiana (Pa.) at McComb Fieldhouse. The Fighting Scots continue to build on their school record for wins as they improved to 30-1, while IUP, the fifth seed, saw its season come to an end at 23-7.
The win moves Edinboro into the Atlantic Regional final for the first time since 1997. The Fighting Scots went on to defeat High Point and reach the Elite Eight for the only time in school history. Edinboro will meet Shaw in a rematch of last year’s first round regional tilt, when eighth-seeded Shaw upset the top-seeded Fighting Scots 72-51. This time it will be a matchup of one vs. two with Shaw the reigning regional champion and number two seed. The Atlantic Regional title game will tip off at 7 p.m.
“We’ve won 30 games,” boasted head coach Stan Swank. “Not many teams can do that. It’s an amazing accomplishment. We're looking forward to playing a very good Shaw team. It left a bitter taste (last year) and we're anxious to get to that game.”
This marked the third meeting between the two PSAC West rivals, with Edinboro winning the first two by 26 and 19 points. The Crimson Hawks battled Edinboro on even terms for a good portion of the first half, but Edinboro would still hold a 40-32 lead at the half while missing All-PSAC West performer Renee’ Brown for much of the half due to foul trouble.
In recent games Edinboro has struggled coming out of the gate following the half, but Swank must have had some words of wisdom as the Fighting Scots quickly built their lead to 16 points.
IUP’s Amy Fairman scored the first basket of the half to cut the lead to 40-34, but Edinboro ran off the next nine points, part of an 11-1 run. Kiara Brown drained a 3-pointer to start the burst, and Micki Cerchiaro followed with a jumper. Kiara Brown added four straight free throws to make it 49-34. Arika Ullman ended the run with afree throw, but when Renee’ Brown converted a layup off an IUP turnover Edinboro had its biggest lead of the night at 51-35.
The Crimson Hawks would get no closer than eight on two occasions, although the Scots were never able to put them away. With IUP pulling to within eight at 58-50, Kiara Brown answered with a layup and Raven Metz hit a pair of free throws to boost the lead to 12 at 62-50.
IUP responded with the next four points to cut the lead to 62-54. Samantha Blazetic missed a pair of shots on the next possession, but the Scots were able to grab the offensive rebound. Darche’ Jackson then hit a cutting Metz for a reverse layup and a 64-54 lead with 3:37 to play. That started an 8-0 run for the Boro as IUP would score just two points over the final four-plus minutes. Blazetic scored on a short jumper, followed by a Kaira Brown layup, and two Metz free throws for a 70-54 lead with 1:48 left.
Kiara Brown led a trio of Fighting Scots in double figures as she scored 21 points, making 7 of 15 field goals and 6 of 7 free throws. Samantha Blazetic added her fifth double-double of the season and second of the regional with 16 points and 12 rebounds. The 6’3” junior also blocked six shots. Cerchiaro had 12 points and seven boards.
Sarah Pastorek scored a game-high 26 points for IUP, and also had team-high five rebounds.
Edinboro shot 41.3 percent for the game while making 15 of 17 free throws. IUP came in at 40.0 percent and was 14 of 19 from the line. The Scots held a 39-31 advantage on the glass, but 19 of those were offensive, leading to a 23-9 advantage in second chance points. IUP turned the ball over 24 times, with Edinboro committing 17 miscues.