Kyle Taylor, Sports Information Director
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – James Morris Jr. scored as time expired to give No. 8-seeded Langston a 63-61 victory over No. 1-seeded Pikeville (Ky.) to advance to the second round in the Duer Bracket of the 81st Annual NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship, Thursday afternoon at Municipal Auditorium. The Lions will play the winner of No. 4-seeded Texas Wesleyan and No. 5-seeded Graceland (Iowa) on Friday, March 16 at 5:45 p.m.
- Langston improved its season record to 21-11
- Pikeville finished its season with a record of 28-5
- Brandon Eboigbodin recorded a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds for Langston, while also adding five steals, two blocked shots and two assists
- Dante Bailey shared team-high scoring honors with 14 points to go along with four rebounds
- Jordan Perry led the way for Pikeville with 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting
- Jayvian Delacruz added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Bears
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Langston took a two-point lead with 1:28 remaining on a short jumper by Dante Bailey before Delacruz scored a bucket in the paint for Pikeville at the 1:08 mark
- Eboigbodin missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 50 seconds remaining, while Delacruz was off the mark on a jumper with 24 seconds to play to give Langston the final possession and the score tied at 61-61.
- Morris Jr. dribbled across the top of the arc from left to right, pulled up along the base line from 15 feet out, and heaved a high-arching jump shot that bounced around the rim, off the backboard and into the hoop as time expired
- The game finished with 14 ties and 14 lead changes, with the biggest lead at six points for either team coming with Langston leading 38-32 with 14:29 remaining in the second half
HOW THEY SAW IT
- Langston head coach Stan Holt – “I called a sideline out of bounds play that we’ve put in. I think we were pretty comfortable running it, and we’ve run it quite a bit even thought to that point we hadn’t run it in this game. We wanted to get something towards the rim and have a shooter spaced so if Pikeville did help we’d have Dante (Bailey) on the wing ready to shoot it. J.J. (Morris) made a heck of a play. He had to shoot a fadeaway, but he does a great job of shooting the ball up high.”
- Pikeville head coach Kelly Wells – “I don’t know what happened. We just didn’t play our game. It was a lot like the Mid-South Conference tournament. We just couldn’t get it going our way. We played selfishly at times … I’m not sure. I just don’t have the answer. Give (Langston) credit. They did what they needed to do. They hit the big shot when they needed it and we didn’t.”