Knights Upset Lindenwood and Advance to National Semi-Finals

Written by Chris Pendleton

UNIONTOWN, Pa.—The No. 5-seeded Southern Virginia University men's basketball team upset No. 4-seeded Lindenwood University-Belleville 91-79 on Wednesday and earned an opening-round win at the USCAA National Tournament for the fourth time in the past five years.

"We knew coming in that Lindenwood-Belleville had its best team ever with a 26-4 record, while scoring over 90 points per game," said first-year Head Coach Tony Caputo. "We had our work cut out for us defensively against Lindenwood's high-octane offense and I was happy with the way we controlled the pace in the first half and our overall defensive performance." 

Southern Virginia (17-6) made its first four field goal attempts against Lindenwood-Belleville (26-6) giving the Knights a 13-2 advantage over the Lynx just 2:52 into Wednesday's opening-round matchup.

Southern Virginia continued to build upon its hot start throughout the first half and entered the break with a 17-point lead (45-28) over Lindenwood after shooting 53.6 percent (15-for-28) from the floor and 53.8 percent (7-for-13) from 3-point range, while holding the Lynx to 27.6 percent (8-for-29) shooting for the half.

Southern Virginia's lead remained in double digits for a majority of the second period and only dipped below ten points in the final 30 seconds when the Knights struggled to make their free throws after Lindenwood began fouling to get back in the game. 

Lindenwood committed 31 fouls during Wednesday's contest leading to 32 made free throws for Southern Virginia on a season-high 49 attempts.

Southern Virginia was led by its All-American backcourt as Casey Nye (Kaysville, Utah), Anders Jacobson (Kitty Hawk, N.C.) and Isaac Jacobson (Kitty Hawk, N.C.) poured in 28, 22 and 18 points respectively, combining for 68 of the Knights' 91 points. 

I. Jacobson also recorded game-highs in rebounds (12), offensive rebounds (4) and steals (3).

Lindenwood was led by its All-American guard Todd Starks, who scored a game-high 29 points, while playing all 40 minutes against the Knights, but the Lynx shot only 37.7 percent (23-for-61) for the game marking the sixth consecutive game that Southern Virginia has held its opponent under 42 percent shooting.

Southern Virginia (17-6) is now 3-0 all-time against Lindenwood-Belleville (26-5) after eliminating the Lynx in each of the past three national tournaments.

With Wednesday's win, the Knights advance to the national tournament semi-finals, where they will face No. 1-seeded Rochester College (21-3) on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. Rochester defeated No. 8 Saint Joseph's College of Brooklyn 75-53 during Wednesday's opening round.

Southern Virginia is 2-2 all-time against Rochester with the Knights winning the most recent matchup 75-63 in the 2010 USCAA national semi-finals. With a win over the top-seeded Warriors, Southern Virginia will advance to the national championship game for the third time in the past four years. 

Watch video and follow live stats as the Knights take on the Warriors at 8 p.m.