Tim Shay, Sports Information Director
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Mid-America Christian University men’s basketball team made their return to the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship on Thursday afternoon, opening the 2019 tournament at historic Municipal Auditorium with a contest against one of the tournament’s four No. 1 seeds. Occupying both the same bench and the same locker room as their last game in the building – the 2016 championship game – MACU found a similar result.
MACU (21-12) led for most of the game, though the lead felt tenuous for much of the night, and the Evangels became the first eight-seed to win a game in 2019, knocking off the Bulldogs of Tougaloo College (28-5), 73-64.
MACU opened the game on fire. MACU scored the game’s first eight points, with Justin Bogle burying a pair of 3-pointers in the stretch. Just 4:51 into the game, Anthony Black knocked down a triple to stretch MACU’s lead to 10 at 13-3, and after Tougaloo cut it to five, MACU answered right back, and a triple from Charles Beauregard, Jr. restored the 10-point margin at 18-8 with 12:27 to go in the half. Tougaloo responded with a 12-1 run to take the lead at 23-22 with 6:30 showing on the clock, but MACU reclaimed the edge and pushed it to 33-26 before taking a 39-35 lead into the break.
An early 8-0 run in the second half helped MACU open a 50-38 lead with 16:59 to play in the game, and the lead remained in double-figures for much of the rest of the night. The Bulldogs got no closer than eight in the waning moments, and MACU led by as many as 14, as the Evangels’ defense stifled the Bulldogs and MACU took the game 73-64.
Black led the Evangels with 17 points, and he was joined in double figures by Bogle with 14 and Britt Hammons with 10. Dominick Ford led all players with 11 rebounds in the game, and MACU out-rebounded the Bulldogs 47-40.
MACU made 25-of-64 (39.1 percent) points in the game, including 12 of 30 (40 percent) from long distance. At the foul line, MACU was 11-for-15 (73.3 percent).
MACU advances to the second round of the Championship for the third time in three appearances with the win. They will play the winner of the William Carey University (Miss.) Crusaders (22-9) and the Peru State College (Neb.) Bobcats (23-10) at 5:45 p.m. on Friday.