UNIONTOWN, Pa. The Southern Virginia Men's Basketball team could not sustain a first-half lead, and fell to Talladega College in the championship game of the USCAA National Tournament, 65-56. The Knights held a 7-point lead over the defending champions with 13-minutes left in the first-half, but Talladega chipped away at the lead. Both teams went into halftime tied at 29-29.
SVU was shooting a blistering 50% from the field, while also shooting 50% from three-point range. The Achilles heel for SVU came at the free-throw line, where they were barely above 50% on 7-0f-13 shooting.
Ade Swann was SVU's leading scorer in the first-half with 8-points. Talladega had an advantage on the boards as they pulled down 15-rebounds to SVU's 13.
The second half remained a close game as both teams sought to gain the championship advantage. The Tornadoes were able to establish a lead of 9-points with 12 minutes remaining, as it looked that SVU had lost the legs to stay with Talladega. A Cory Evans layup started the comeback for the Knights, as they found their way back into the game.
Casey Nye brought SVU to within two-points at the 6:31 mark, with the Knights trailing 50-48. A Talladega three-pointer killed off the rally, and the two-point deficit would be as close as SVU got. Talladega held the Knights to only seven points over the last 6-minutes, and retained their title for a second consecutive year.
Bryce Pendleton was the teams leading scorer with 15-points on 4-of-9 shooting, and 3-for-7 shooting from beyond the three-point arc. Evans was the team's leading rebounder with 11, and put in 9-points in his final game as a Knight. For their efforts, Pendleton and Evans were named to the All-Tournament Team.
SVU eventually shot 33% from the field, going 17-for-51. The downfall for the Knights came at the line as they shot only 50% on 16-of-32 from the stripe. The teams were even with 39-rebounds apiece. Turnovers played a key role for the game, as SVU coughed up the ball 19-times to Talladega's 12. The Knights could not find a solution for Talladega's bench, as Kenneth Irby led all scorers with 23-points, while SVU's bench accounted for 13 points combined.
Swann, Pendleton and Evans finish their SVU careers as part of the most successful seasons in program history. They took part in two national tournaments, and led the team to the championship for only the second time, the first since the 2000-2001 season. The Knights end their season at 16-9.