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basketball-men-d2 flag | January 12, 2014

DII Roundup: Drury bounces back, beats Southern Indiana

EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- One streak ended, another started.

Drury's nationally third-ranked Panthers bounced back from their first loss in a year by downing previously unbeaten and No. 8 Southern Indiana 64-56 in a Great Lakes Valley Conference showdown Saturday afternoon at the Physical Activities Center.

The defending national champions, who saw the nation's longest current NCAA streak at any level -- 34 games -- snapped with Thursday's 85-77 loss at Bellarmine, responded by picking up their first win at The PAC since 2008, and its second in a row against Southern Indiana, after beating the Screaming Eagles in last year's GLVC Championship title game at the nearby Ford Center.

Drury had four players finish in double figures, with Kameron Bundy finishing with 12 points and Ian Carter, Lonnie Boga and Cameron Adams finishing with 10 points each. Adams matched his career-high with 14 rebounds as the Panthers were beaten 42-32 on the boards by a USI squad that led the nation with its 18-rebound average differential per game.

No. 1 West Liberty 108, West Virginia Wesleyan 81

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – Unbeaten and No. 1 West Liberty shot a blistering 71 percent from the floor in the first half Saturday and cruised to a 108-81 victory at West Virginia Wesleyan.

Coach Jim Crutchfield's Hilltoppers (12-0, 8-0) had their hands full with the scrappy Bobcats (9-6, 4-3) in the early going but the hosts couldn't find a way to counter West Liberty's deadly accuracy from the field.

C.J. Hester had game-highs of 18 points and eight rebounds to pace six double-figure scorers for the winners. Cedric Harris added 17 points and a game-high eight assists with Keene Cockburn contributing 17 points and seven rebounds. Devin Hoehn and Mike Lamberti came off the bench with 13 and 11 points, respectively, and Seger Bonifant chipped in with 10 points.

Taylor Price and Garrett Grantham had 15 points each to lead Wesleyan, which came into the game having won seven of its past nine outings.

No. 2 Bellarmine 89, Missouri S&T 79

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Behind a perfect night from junior forward Jake Thelen, the No. 2 Bellarmine Knights kept their season perfect with an 89-79 victory against a tenacious Missouri S&T team in a Great Lakes Valley Conference contest Saturday afternoon in Knights Hall.

Thelen connected on all seven field goals and all eight free throws he attempted to lead four Knights in double-digit scoring with 22 points as Bellarmine improved to 12-0 overall and 4-0 in the GLVC. Senior guard Vance Hall flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 10 points, eight rebounds, and a career-high 10 assists.

Bellarmine shot 65.3 percent, held their opponents to just 39.7 percent, and outrebounded the Miners 34-22. Despite the statistical advantages for the Knights, Missouri S&T kept the game close by hitting 10 of 22 3-point attempts and forcing 17 turnovers.

No. 4 Florida Southern 85, Lynn 74

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Fourth-ranked Florida Southern saw its perfect season hanging in the balance on Saturday afternoon as Lynn rallied from a 10-point deficit to tie the game at 73 with 3:10 remaining, but the Moccasins rallied to score 12 of the game's final 13 points to post an 85-74 victory against the Fighting Knights in Sunshine State Conference action at the de Hoernle Center.

With the victory, the Mocs improve to 15-0 on the season and 4-0 in the SSC. The 15-game winning streak is tied with East Stroudsburg for the longest active win streak in Division II. Lynn fell to 6-7 overall and 0-3 in the SSC.

Kevin Capers led the way offensively for the Mocs as he finished with 24 points off the bench, including going 11-for-13 at the free-throw line. In addition to Capers, Dominic Lane added 20 points and eight rebounds for the Mocs, while Frank Adams scored 12 points, including tallying 10 of them in the first half.

No. 5 Metro State 86, No. 11 Colorado Mines 75

DENVER -- No. 5 Metro State won the fight for the top spot in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference with a 75-86 win against No. 11 Colorado School of Mines on Saturday, in front of a record-high 2,114 fans at Auraria Event Center. Brandon Jefferson led all scorers with 32 points and set a school record hitting 19 of 20 from the free-throw line. The Roadrunners improved to 11-1 overall and 8-0 in the RMAC, while the Orediggers dropped to 12-1 and 8-1.

On offense, the Roadrunners were 24 of 54 (44.4 percent) for field goals, 5 of 17 (29.4 percent) from the arc, and 33 of 37 (91.7 percent) from the line for the game. Mitch McCarron had 20 points and Nicholas Kay had nine. The Roadrunners' bench contributed 17 points for the game.

The Roadrunners' defense caused 16 Orediggers turnovers while committing 12. Jefferson, McCarron, along with Jamal McClerkin and Raul Delgado each had two steals, while Kay, Will Sinclair and Obi Kyei each had one. McCarron led the Roadrunners with ine rebounds, while Jefferson had five.

It was a physical game defensively, sending players to the line 62 times. Gokul Natesan left the game with five fouls for the Orediggers with 5:34 left in the game, while the Roadrunners' Will Sinclair headed to the bench with 5:18 left in the game.

Orediggers' Luke Meisch led his team with 27 points, while Trevor Wges had 13 and Brett Green had 12.

No. 6 Indiana (Pa.) 53, Mercyhurst 50

ERIE, Pa. -- For the first time since the 2009-10 season, sixth-ranked Indiana (Pa.) claimed a road victory against rival Mercyhurst, defeating the Lakers 53-50 on Saturday afternoon.

Again led by Marcel Souberbielle, who finished the game with 14 points, IUP held off a late Mercyhurst rally that brought the game down to the final seconds.

For the first time in eight games, since defeating Shaw on Nov. 30, the Crimson Hawks never trailed their opponent, holding the lead from the opening seconds, getting things under way with a 9-0 run.

Claiming his first career win at Mercyhurst, Souberbielle also tallied three rebounds, three assists, one steal and the game-winning block. Devon Cottrell added 13 points, all scored in the first half, six rebounds and three blocks.

No. 7 Dixie State 87, Azusa Pacific 63

ST. GEORGE, Utah -- Dixie State opened the game on a 10-2 run, built a 25-point halftime lead and held advantages in almost every offensive statistical category leading to an 87-63 win against Azusa Pacific at the Burns Arena.

Three Dixie State (12-1/6-1 PacWest) players – DeQuan Thompson, Zach Robbins and Mason Sawyer – each had 16 points. Robbins, with 14 rebounds, and Jordan Rex (12 points, 11 rebounds) posted double-doubles in the same game for the second time this season.

Even with four players in double figures, it was the effort on the defensive end that stymied the Cougars to 21-of-59 shooting.

Azusa Pacific (7-5/3-3 PacWest) answered the opening DSU salvo with five points to cut the home team's lead to 10-7. From that point, Dixie State produced a 30-8 run that opened a 25-point lead, 40-15, at the six-minute mark. During the string, DSU hit five shots from beyond the arc en route to eight total makes in the opening half. Thompson personally hit four long distance shots during his 14-point effort in the opening 20 minutes.

Kimball Payne bumped the advantage up to 30 points with the first of three consecutive buckets. But, it was Sawyer, Payne's point guard colleague, who paced the Storm's offensive attack after halftime. He hit four shots, including a 3-pointer late. DSU's lead grew as big as 37 points before APU hit four deep shots to cut the final margin down to 24.

No. 10 East Stroudsburg 101, Shippensburg 71

EAST STROUDSBURG -- Whis Grant and Jamal Nwaniemeka scored 19 points each and Matt Tobin had 11 points and 11 assists, leading No. 10 East Stroudsburg to a 101-71 win against Shippensburg and school single-season record 15th consecutive win on Saturday afternoon at Koehler Fieldhouse.

Tobin, who had nine points and 13 assists in an 81-68 win at Pitt-Johnstown on Wednesday, is the first ESU player with 10-plus assists in consecutive games under 12th-year head coach Jeff Wilson, as the Warriors won by double figures for the 13th time in 15 games.

The Warriors, already off to the best start in program history, surpassed their 1940-41 and 2012-13 teams which both had 14-game winning streaks. They also matched the 2005-06 team's best-ever PSAC East start at 5-0 as they defend their second division title in four years.

Guard Will Brown added 10 points and was one of four ESU players to hit multiple 3-pointers. The Warriors hit 13 3s in all, giving them 40 in the past three games -- including 15 in a 101-69 win against Clarion, and 12 at UPJ.

Forward Rasheed Moore added nine points and 11 rebounds, just missing his third double-double of the season.