Evangel shoots past Gold Rush at NAIA national tourney
March 17, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Senior guard Spud Harbour
scored 27 points Thursday to lead Evangel University to a 79-71 victory over
Xavier University of Louisiana in the opening round of the Buffalo Funds-NAIA
Division I Men's Basketball National Championship.
The Crusaders (26-8), from Springfield, Mo., shot 52.8
percent from the floor and earned their 11th consecutive victory. They'll play
second-ranked Concordia (Calif.) in the second round at 2:15 p.m. Friday. Xavier,
ranked 17th and in the national tournament for the first time since 2008, finished
27-6 with its winningest season since 1983-84.
Senior guard Michael Harvey, in his final Xavier game,
led the Gold Rush with 18 points, including a career-high-tying four 3-pointers.
Chris Iles had 16 points and four assists, Cordell Hadnot had eight points and
eight rebounds, and Denzell Erves had eight points and seven rebounds. In the
first half Harvey scored 11 points, and Iles had 10 after going 4-of-4 from
Evangel, ranked 15th in the final coaches poll, spent
more than 38½ minutes with the lead. Xavier's only advantage was at 7-6, and
there were ties at 3 and 44 before Evangel went ahead to stay on Chad Gillaspy's
basket with 16:49 remaining. The Crusaders stretched their lead to 68-56 on
Mitch McHenry's basket with 7:17 remaining, then made 8-of-8 free throws in the
final 3:15 after Xavier closed the gap to 71-69 on Hadnot's free throw at 3:29.
Harbour scored 15 points to help Evangel lead 39-34 at halftime. Harbour
finished with three 3-pointers, three assists and 10-of-11 free throws.
McHenry made 7-of-10 from the floor and scored a
season-high 17 points, all in the second half, for Evangel, and Gillaspy had 15
points, 7-of-11 field goals, six rebounds and two blocked shots.
Evangel was the first team this season to shoot better
than 50 percent from the floor against Xavier, which entered the game in the
top five nationally in scoring defense and field-goal percentage defense. The
Gold Rush shot 45.9 percent but made 1-of-8 from 3-point range after hitting
5-of-9 in the first half.
Harvey finished his career with 143 3-pointers. He
scored Xavier's first points on a trey at 18:42, giving him sole possession of
fourth place on Xavier's all-time list. He entered the game tied with Michael
Varnado, who played from 2001-05.
Xavier lost in the first round at nationals for the
ninth time in its last 10 appearances. The Gold Rush are 4-12 in 12 appearances,
and each of the last five losses was by single digits.