The NCAA division II basketball tournament has just wrapped up the first round. So far it has provided many wild and exciting games and should continue to do so. If you like March Madness and love to see bracket busters, you need to check out D2 basketball. There has already been several upsets, exciting overtime games, and high point shootouts. Here’s a recap of the upsets in round one.
#6 Wheeling Jesuit 96 #3 West Liberty 95 F/OT. We knew this game would be high scoring, but we didn’t know how The Cardinals would fare in extra time against the number three seed. Wheeling Jesuit’s Preston Boswell hit a three with eight seconds left in overtime. Pat Moseh and Haywood Highsmith added another 23 points each and Highsmith also had 16 rebounds to record a double double. West Liberty’s David Dennis and Devin Hoehn each scored 30 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Hilltoppers fell short.
#8 Merrimack 72 #1 Le Moyne 68: The Warriors came from behind in the first half to knock off the East Region’s top seed in over time. Merrimack was led in a surge by Ryan Boulter (20 points) and Juvaris Hayes (21 points) that helped Merrimack do the unthinkable. Stan Buczek scored a double double for Le Moyne, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Merrimack’s dominating late game come back. This opens the door for many teams in the East including the Warriors.
#7 Southern Connecticut St. 109 #2 Southern New Hampshire 98: The Owls took the lead early and didn’t look back. Southern New Hampshire’s Devin Gilligan (31 points), Dimitri Floras (21 points), and Chris Walters (21 points) just didn’t have enough for the lower seed. Especially when Michael Mallory (42 points and Jerry Luckett (30 points) led the way for the Owls and their offense.
#6 Findlay 70 # 3 Southern Indiana 69
This game stayed close throughout the whole game until Findlay’s Tyler Stern-Tucker drive in the paint and scored a layup with six seconds left. USI’s Bobo Drummond nails a couple of threes late and scored 31 points in the game, but just didn’t have enough in the end to put away Findlay. Tareq Sullivan recorded a double double with 23 points and 14 rebounds while the hero for Findlay, Stern-Tucker added 17 points.
#7 Rollins 89 #2 Valdosta State 85 F/OT
Rollins relied on steady play from six contributors to take down the favored Blazers in overtime. Jeff Merton led the way for the Tars along with a double double from Joey Galvis, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Damian Young scored 29 points for Valdosta State, but the Blazers were plagued by turnovers late in overtime which helped Rollins pull away to the victory.
#6 Limestone 100 #2 UNC-Pembroke 85
The Saints were up by only one at the half, but pulled away to cruise to a 15 point win. Limestone’s success was due to shooting 57.1% from the field. Shaun Stewart scored 37 points while Shaq Dance contributed another 31 points. UNC-Pembroke just couldn’t hang shot for shot only shoot 40% from the field. Nigel Grant led the way for the Braves with 23 points in the loss.
South Central Region
#7 Texas A&M-Kingsville 74 #2 Texas-Permian Basin 71
The Javelinas had a nine point lead at the half, but UTPB would fight their way back in the second half. UTPB’s Sammy Allen made one of two free throws to tie the game 71-71 with 56 seconds left. Both teams struggled to score in the final minute until the last seconds. Andres Villa missed a layup with six seconds left for UTPB allowing Kingsville to set up one final play in regulation. Marcus Frazier nailed a three as time expired giving the Javelinas the win. Daeshon Francis, Johnnie Lacy, and Zeldric King combined for 44 points for the Falcons which aided in their strong second half come back that just fell short. The Javelina’s upset victory was led by Duan Wright with 19 points and Marcus Farazier who was 5 for 11 from the field with 15 points in just 19 minutes of playing time.
#6 Chico State-96 #3 Western Washington-83
The Wildcats got off to a strong start and never looked back. Isaiah Ellis led the way for Chico State with a double double that featured 20 points and 10 rebounds. Jalen McFerren added another 16 points to the victory. Western Washington shot better from the field in the second half, but just couldn’t gain any ground. Taylor Stafford scored 24 points for the Vikings in the loss. Chico State looks to be a solid bracket buster. They didn’t play an as competitive schedule as other teams, but are proving themselves to be a strong opponent in the D2 tourney.