If you want it summed up in one phrase…What. A. Day! It wasn’t just the fact that we had a 14 and 15 seed advance, it was the game themselves. Three of the four games went down to the last few possessions. We saw two late comebacks, plenty of great players and a lot of great plays! Hard to watch the Day 1 games and not walk away thinking how REALLY good NAIA basketball is!

General Thoughts

  • Youth Movement: Really love these youngsters:
    • Kamrin Oriol (So., The Master’s)
    • Quan Lax (So., Freed Hardeman)
    • Alton Hamilton (Fr., Lewis-Clark State)
    • Garrett Davault (So., Evangel)
    • Wade Williams (So., Central Baptist)
  • The defending National Champions, College of Idaho, led by as much as 20pts in EVERY game in last year’s tournament and this years overall No. 1 seed, Grace is keeping pace with that, so far, this season!
  • Three of the four games yesterday were separated by a combined 9pts!
  • Muni shooting woes continue…Shooting, for the most part, wasn’t great as teams combined to go 63-201 from 3 for 31.3%.
  • FHU vs CBC in the NAIA Quarterfinals may set the record for most bodies hitting the floor in tournament history! Also, may set a record for tipped passes in that game!


  • Game 1: #1 Freed-Hardeman defeated #5 The Master’s, 69-68…you can see the box score (here)
    • Freed, as we mentioned in our 16 Things for Round of 16 article, is the No. 1 ranked team in DEF EFF. They are super aggressive on the defensive end and help and recover about as well as anyone we have seen all year. With all of that, it’s no surprise that the game came down the final possession and that Freed got a stop to win it.
    • The Master’s has a chance to return almost everyone from their team. If that happens, they are going to be a serious title contender next season. Kaleb Lowery and Ty Harper are so talented and fun to watch!
  • Game 2: #14 Central Baptist defeated #2 Oklahoma Wesleyan, 84-79…(Box Score)
    • Central Baptist came back from down 10 with five minutes left to go to win this one. The are one of the scrappiest teams in the NAIA and they showed it last night. The Mustangs are undersized, at every position, but don’t tell them that. The Mustangs FLY around the court defensively. They also have one of the best players in the country in DeShawn Corprew, who picked up two quick fouls and had to sit a bit in the 1st half. He finished with 18pts, 10rebs, 3assts and 3stls.
    • OKWU shot the crap out of it from deep going 10-21 from 3! DJ Talton Jr. went on a mini run in the 2nd half to put the Eagles up double-digits. However, some late OKWU turnovers and some missed shots late led to the Eagles demise. Fun group, that plays hard and return a LOT for next season!
  • Game 3: #1 Grace defeated #5 Northwestern (IA), 88-62..(Box Score)
    • Grace is the No. 1 overall seed for a reason. The Lancers are so talented and can beat you in so many ways. NWC, like many teams, didn’t really have an answer for Elijah Malone (17pts, 11rebs). Cade Gibbs was really tough on both ends of the floor and brother Jakob looked like Jakob as well.
    • Northwestern had a GREAT season. Unfortunately, they ran into a buzzsaw that is Grace. Zach LaFave (21pts) and Dillon Carleson (19pts) were able to find some rhythm, but Alex Van Kalsbeek and Craig Sterk combined to go 4-21 from the field for a combined 9pts. Their Seniors will still have a chance to return for a grad season, so we will see what the Red Raiders look like next season!
  • Game 4: No. 15 Evangel defeated #11 Lewis-Clark State, 77-74…(Box Score)
    • Don’t worry Valor fans, we fired our intern who left you out of our final Bracketology report. Real talk though, Evangel is playing with a lot of swag and confidence. This is a veteran group who have almost all been together for awhile, who have also made 3 straight tournaments and who also won a game last year in the tourney. They don’t play afraid or like they don’t belong and they used that mindset to jump out to a big lead last night, led by the outstanding play by Garrett Davault (22pts). This is a fun group and Bert Capel continues to do a great job with his team!
    • Lewis Clark State started off the game 1-18 from 3 and that led to them being down by 22pts at one point. The Warriors showed their toughness though as they scratched and crawled their way back into this game. They had a couple chances late, on back-to-back possessions to take the lead, but missed two layups and then had to foul. They have really found something though in Freshman, Alton Hamilton! Kid is going to be an absolute monster in the NAIA!

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