March 15, 2009

Courtesy of Christian Bros. Athletics

LAKELAND, Fla. — The No. 15 Christian Brothers University Bucs jumped out to a 15-4 lead before the first media timeout and cruised to a 72-53 win over No. 10 Claflin in the NCAA Division II South Regional Semifinals Sunday night.

With the win, the Bucs (24-6) advance to the South Regional final for the first time in school history.  The win gives the Bucs 67 wins in the last three years, the best three-year win tally in school history, and their 24 wins clinch their best win total since joining the NCAA.  The overall school record for wins was set in 1984-85 as the Bucs went 25-10.

The Bucs opened the game on a 17-4 run, as a Kyle Couvion (Dayton, Ohio/Centerville HS) fastbreak layup gave the Bucs that advantage just six minutes into the game.

The Panthers (25-4) whittled the lead back to 20-13 with 9:46 remaining in the half as Eric Salley scored six straight points as soon as he entered the game, but the Bucs never allowed Claflin closer than seven.

The Bucs put the game away with a 13-2 run over the final 5:35 of the first half and the first 1:38 of the second half, blowing the lead open to 43-23 on a Nick Kohs (Cincinnati, Ohio/Lakota East HS) layup with 18:22 remaining in the game.  The Bucs' lead swelled to as much as 22 points, and Claflin never came closer than 13 points in the second half.

Kohs, the Daktronics Division II South Region Player of the Year, scored 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the way for the Bucs.  Reggie Peyton (Memphis, Tenn./St. Benedict HS) scored 13, while Couvion scored 11 with four steals.  Scott Dennis (Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore HS) continued his strong play with six points, nine rebounds, three steals, and seven assists to just one turnover.

Salley led the Panthers, who won the SIAC regular season title, with 16 points, while Ernest Sinkfield scored 12.

The Bucs play in the regional final Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Central against the winner of tonight's other semifinal, between top-seeded Florida Southern and Arkansas Tech.