Written by Chris Pendleton
UNIONTOWN, Pa.—The Southern Virginia University men's basketball team's run at back-to-back USCAA national championships ended prematurely on Wednesday as the Knights suffered a 53-63 opening-round loss to Oakwood University.
All-American Casey Nye and senior Spenser Briggs were the only two Knights who reached double-figures against Oakwood as Southern Virginia shot a meager 34 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from behind the arc.
The Knights led early and trailed by only two points (15-17) with just under ten minutes remaining in the opening half before Oakwood rolled off nine unanswered points over a five-minute stretch to go up 15-26 with 5:48 left before halftime.
Still trailing by eleven points (22-33) at the break, Southern Virginia fought all the way back coming within one point of the Ambassadors (43-44) at the 6:49 mark.
Oakwood outscored the Knights 19-10 over the final six-and-a-half minutes of play, however, ending Southern Virginia's chance at a repeat title.
Rebounding also hurt Southern Virginia during Wednesday's loss as Oakwood outrebounded the Knights 29-39 for the game leading to 22 second-chance points for the Ambassadors.
Men's basketball, which won its first USCAA national championship a season ago, is competing in its fifth straight national tournament—the most consecutive postseason bids in the program's 14-year history. The Knights had not lost an opening-round matchup, however, since their postseason streak began in 2008.
Southern Virginia will play again tomorrow, Mar. 8 against Lindenwood University at 11:15 a.m. EDT. Lindenwood dropped its opening round matchup with The Apprentice School 57-68.