Story By Eric Montgomery | Media Coordinator
Photos courtesy of Referee Photo
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Box Score) No. 2-seeded Oklahoma City pulled away from No. 7-seeded Xavier (La.) in the final five minutes to earn a 62-50 victory and advance to the second round of the 81st Annual NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship, Wednesday afternoon at Municipal Auditorium. The Stars will play No. 3-seeded Georgetown (Ky.), a 79-74 winner over Central Baptist (Ark.), on Friday, March 16 at 9:00 a.m. CDT.
- Oklahoma City improved its season record to 24-8
- Xavier ends its season with a record of 25-9
- The game marked a rematch of a 2001 first round game won by the Stars, 96-51
- Samuel Williams led the way for Oklahoma City with 14 points, four rebounds and four blocked shots
- Lou Dunbar came off the bench to contribute 13 points, four rebounds and two assists for the Stars
- Jalen David led all scorers with 16 points to go along with eight rebounds for Xavier
- Jeff Dixon finished with 13 points, five rebounds and two assists for the Gold Rush
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Oklahoma City limited Xavier to 29.2 percent shooting (19 of 65), including 4 for 20 (.200) from three-point range
- Xavier converted just one field goal over the final 5:55 of the first half to trail 29-21 at halftime
- The Gold Rush closed to within three points midway through the first half, holding the Stars without a field goal for almost six minutes
- Oklahoma City outscored Xavier, 17-9, over the final 5:00 to push the final margin into double digits
HOW THEY SAW IT
- Oklahoma City head coach Vinay Patel – “It was an ugly game, but the great thing about March is it’s just about survive and advance. I thought we competed, but we will have to play a lot better to keep playing.”
- Xavier head coach Alfred Williams – “We got the shots we wanted, we got to the paint, we got to the line, we just missed a lot of chip-ins. Small things definitely hurt us. Some of those small things added up to a big thing and we were down 12.”
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Both teams attempted 20 three-point shots, with Oklahoma City hitting seven to only four for Xavier
- Xavier recorded 18 offensive rebounds, but converted just eight second chance points, while Oklahoma City turned its seven offensive rebounds into nine second chance points
Oklahoma City qualified for the national championship for the 24th time and third-straight season … The Stars played a team from the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference for the second-straight season in the first round (Dillard, La.) … The 62 points scored was the fewest in a national championship victory for the Stars since a 61-59 triumph over Houston Baptist in 1999 … The Stars were held to less than 70 points for just the second time this season.
The Gold Rush were appearing in the national championship for the 18th time in program history, falling to 3-15 all-time in the first round … After missing the event last season, Xavier has been a part of the 32-team field seven of the last eight seasons … The Gold Rush finished 0-7 against teams in this season’s championship … The 50 points scored was the fewest by Xavier in a game this season.