UNIONTOWN, Pa. — In a day of upsets at the USCAA National Championship, the Southern Virginia University men's basketball team was the only favorite to advance past the first round on Wednesday as the Knights defeated Marygrove College, 83-70.
The opening round matchup between the second-seeded Knights and seventh-seeded Mustangs was hotly contested early on with seven different tied scores during the first sixteen minutes of play.
Southern Virginia trailed 28-27 with 4:03 remaining in the opening period until Spenser Briggs hit a pair of free throws to put the Knights up by a single point. Briggs came up with a defensive steal on the ensuing Marygrove possession, which he converted into a fast break layup pushing the lead to three.
With momentum on its side, Southern Virginia closed out the half on a 13-4 run and entered the locker room with an eight-point advantage.
Casey Nye led all scorers at the half with 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting.
Still leading by eight at the 12:44 mark in the second half, Southern Virginia rolled off seven straight points fueld by two Ed Greenhalgh fast break layups making the score 56-41. Greenhalgh provided the Knights with a huge spark off the bench scoring seven second-half points on 3-for-5 shooting.
Southern Virginia remained in control from that point on, never allowing the Mustangs to come closer than eight points during the final ten minutes of play.
Briggs and Nye both finished with 23 points on a combined 16-for-24 from the field, including 7-for-9 from long range.
Anders Jacobson added 19 points for the Knights while making 14 of his 16 free throw attempts.
With the win, Southern Virginia advances to the semifinals of the USCAA National Championship where it will face sixth-seeded Lindenwood University—Belleville, who upset third-seeded Oakwood University earlier in the day. The game will take place on Friday, Mar. 4 at 11:15 a.m. with the winner advancing to the tournament championship.