In a nail-biting comeback, the #8 Villa Vikings defeated the #9 Andrews University Cardinals by a score of 66-63.
Eighth-seeded Villa Maria College is moving on in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball National Tournament thanks to a second-half comeback which saw the Vikings (17-13) shoot 70 percent over the final 20 minutes to upend the ninth-seeded Andrews University Cardinals (19-11) on Wednesday evening at Penn State Fayette Eberly campus.
Andrews entered the game winners of five straight game and has won three national titles since 2011. Villa held them to 36.4 percent shooting and 22.7 percent from beyond the arc.
The Vikings trailed by four at the break after shooting just 30.4 percent over the opening 20 minutes. They trailed by eight with 14:01 left before Bibbs scored six straight to cut the deficit to 46-44. Villa took it’s first lead of the second half with 8:43 left when sophomore Malcolm Hendrick (Buffalo, NY/Cardoza) connected on a triple to make the score 51-50.
Villa then took a two-point lead minutes later when freshman Eric Waters (Buffalo, NY/Oracle Charter) – who netted 10 of his 12 points in the second half – also hit on a three to put the Vikings ahead 58-56 with just under six minutes left. They pushed the lead to six when sophomore Dominic Douglas (Bainbridge, GA/Bainbridge) scored with 3:29 left. Villa held Andrews scoreless for 4:43 as they went on a 9-0 run.
Douglas then sealed the game with 35 seconds left as he hit a tough contested floater in the lane to put Villa ahead by three. Douglas finished with 17 points and 10 in the second half.
Hendrick, who along with junior Kalil Sherrod (Manhattan, NY/St. Joseph’s College), changed the complexity of the game during the second half. They combined to play 20 minutes of turnover-free basketball and help Villa get back into the game and comeback to win.
INSIDE THE BOX
* Villa shot a season-best 70 percent in the second half (14-20)
* Vikings shot just 30.4 percent in the first half, but were 13-of-14 at the free throw line
* Villa overcame 26 turnovers to pick up it’s first postseason win in athletic department history
* The Vikings out-rebounded Andrews 41-29 and 19-11 in the second half
* DeJaun Owens (Buffalo, NY/Tapestry Charter) finished with five points, netting all five points from the free throw line in the first half
* Waters and sophomore Jayson Moore (Buffalo, NY/Sweet Home) led Villa with four assists each
* Kris Owen led Andrews with 21 points. Robert Moon added 17
The Vikings advance to the Elite 8 to take on top-seeded Berekely College (NY) at 5:30 in Maltho Gym. Berkeley is the two-time defending National Champions and have won 50 consecutive games. Villa will try and end all of that on Thursday.
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Villa Maria advances to play the Berkeley College of New York at 5:30 PM in the Maltho Gymnasium Thursday.