The 2017 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament is underway in Point Lookout, MO. Wednesday, two of the three local teams from Grand Rapids took to the court looking to win their first round games and move on hoping to raise the trophy and bring home the championship banner.
The Aquinas Saints lost a hard-fought battle with top-seeded Union (Ky.) College, 95-83, and the #2-ranked Cornerstone Golden Eagles defeated Pacific Union 89-83 after trailing by 25 points at halftime.
Today, the Davenport Panthers get their chance to maul the competition when they take the floor against Tabor College (Ks.) at 1:45 p.m. CST at Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of host school College of the Ozarks.
Aquinas scurried out a 20-14 lead early but saw the Bulldogs go on a 14-0 run to regain the lead and momentum. The Saints would tie the score just after halftime at 59-59, but Union went on another run, this time 15-3, to once again take control of the game. Jeremey Williamson led the Saints with 21 points and Jake Bullock finished his final game for Aquinas with 19 points. Ryan Schall (Sr./Comstock Park HS), also in his final game, scored six points.
Cornerstone almost had their hopes for a title dashed in the first half of their opening round game against Pacific Union. The Pioneers shot 63% and hit 10-of-17 three-pointers in the first half as they built up a 55-30 lead at halftime. The Golden Eagles turned the tables after the break going on a 5-0 run to start the second half. They followed that up with scoring surges of 13-0 and 14-0 to erase the deficit. Cory Cox scored 10 straight points in the 14-0 run to give the Golden Eagles a lead they would not relinquish. Cox finished the game with 26 points, Kyle Steigenga added 22 points and Michael McLaughlin (Sr./FH Northern) had 15 points.
Cornerstone advances to the second round where they will face No. 15 Saint Francis (Ind.) on Friday at 9:30 a.m. EST.