UNIONTOWN, Pa. — The Southern Virginia University men's basketball team defeated Lindenwood-Belleville University 60-50 in Friday's national semifinal and advanced to the USCAA Men's Division I national championship game for the second consecutive season.
Southern Virginia struggled early on to find an offensive rhythm against Lindenwood's 3-2 zone scoring only three points in the first 7:45 of play. Despite their slow offensive start, the Knights defense kept them in the game never allowing the Lynx to lead by more than five points.
With the scored knotted at 17-all and 4:31 remaining in the first half, Southern Virginia closed out the period on a 12-4 run and entered the break with an eight-point advantage.
The Knights had pushed their lead to a game-high nine points (39-30) six minutes into the second half when the Lynx opened up a 16-7 run to tie the score at 46-46 with 6:29 remaining in the game.
Southern Virginia responded to giving up a nine-point advantage by outscoring Lindenwood 14-4 over the final six and a half minutes of the game.
Casey Nye led the way for the Knights with 17 points and seven rebounds.
"We struggled a bit tonight on the offensive end," said third-year head coach Brian Pendleton. "But we have told our players all season long that defense wins championships. Today it was our defense that won the game."
Southern Virginia out-rebounded Lindenwood 45-40 while holding the Lynx to 36.7 percent shooting, including 1-for-12 from three-point range.
Men's basketball hopes to avenge its nine-point loss to Talladega in last year's championship game and bring home the program's first national title when it faces Ave Maria University in tomorrow's final. The championship game will be played Saturday, Mar. 5 at 6:30 p.m.