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Pilots grounded; LSUS bounced from NAIA tournament - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Pilots grounded; LSUS bounced from NAIA tournament

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -

Courtesy LSUS Athletics: MidAmerica Nazarene shot 60.7 percent from thefield en route to a 96-71 win over No. 13-seeded LSU Shreveport (La.) Thursdayevening in the 2014 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball NationalChampionship in Municipal Auditorium. The Pioneers will face the winner of No.4 Columbia (Mo.) and Belhaven (Miss.) on Friday at 8:00 p.m. CDT.

 

The Pioneers recorded nearly identical numbersin each 48-point half, shooting 18-of-30 (.600) in the first half beforelogging a 19-of-31 shooting mark (.613) in the second half. MNU also hit 10free throws in each stanza and attempted four three-pointers on each side ofintermission with both connections coming in the first half.

 

The statistics on the Pilots' side of the statssheet also stood out, but for the opposite reason. LSU Shreveport shot 25.0percent from the field, connecting on 23-of-92 field goal attempts. The Pilotsmade 4-of-26 three-point shots (.154) and had as many offensive rebounds asmade field goals.

 

The Pioneers claimed a double-digit lead for thefirst time at the 7:29 mark of the first half to go in front, 31-20. ConnerLangrehr hit back-to-back three-pointers prior to a pair of free throws by NateLaunius for an 8-0 run over just 1:01. The duo also combined to score the finalfour points of the half to give MNU a 15-point lead at the break.

 

MNU (24-10) led by double digits for the entiresecond half, though LSU Shreveport closed to within 11 points (66-55) with11:06 remaining. The Pioneers scored the next five points to end the comebackattempt and record their eighth-straight victory.

 

"It's happened the last two years that the restof the (conference) plays in front of us and we sure don't want to be the onethat drops the ball, as far as the (Heart of America Athletic Conference)goes," said MNU head coach Rocky Lamar, who was inducted into the NAIA Hall ofFame on Tuesday evening. "I'm really thrilled with the way that we played thelast eight games of the year."

 

Luke Thomas led the Pioneers with 22 points, 11rebounds and six assists, Langrehr tossed in 18 points, and Brandon Newtontallied 15 points and nine rebounds. David Clark also added 14 points and fiverebounds, while Nick Syrie tallied eight points, six rebounds and nine assists.

 

Brandon Davis tallied 21 points, 10 rebounds andfive steals for the Pilots, while Tevin Hall recorded 20 points, three reboundsand three steals. William Nelson also added 15 points and eight rebounds as hehit all 10 of his free throw attempts.

 

"I'm so proud of our guys for finding a way toovercome adversity and for being champions," said LSU Shreveport head coachKyle Blankenship. "We're not going to let one night define our season. We'rethe first team in school history to win the Red River Athletic Conferencechampionship and for that I'm so proud of our guys."

 

LSU Shreveport finishes its season with a recordof 21-9.

 

Game notes:
MidAmerica Nazarene– The Pioneers improved to 6-3 all-time in the NationalChampionship and have won three of four first round games … MNU has never lostin the second round, advancing to at least the quarterfinal round after itsprevious two first round victories … The Pioneers have shot at least 50 percentin each game of their current eight-game winning streak … Luke Thomas leads theNAIA with 27 double-doubles.

 

LSU Shreveport – The Pilots were making their10th-straight tournament appearance and are now 8-10 all-time … LSU Shreveporthad its streak of three-straight first round wins snapped with the loss …Brandon Davis trails just Luke Thomas in NAIA Division I after recording his24th double-double of the season … The Pilots' 15-point halftime deficit wasits greatest of the season, eclipsing the previous high of 14 points againstSt. Thomas (Texas) on Feb. 7.

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