March 11, 2011

College of the Ozarks Upsets Top Seed

POINT LOOKOUT, MO - College of the Ozarks upset top-seeded Walsh 71-66 in front of a capacity crowd in the second round of the 2011 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship. The Bobcats advance to play
in the quarterfinals for the fifth time in the last six years. The 2011 event is being held at the Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of College of the Ozarks.

C of O upsets top seedWalsh had its only lead of the game (3-2) after the first two minutes but Ozarks quickly moved in front behind the shooting of senior Jared Howerton, who scored eight of the Bobcats 10 points to take a 12-8 lead. Ozarks then began an incredible run, outscoring the Cavs 22-4 over an eight minute stretch, limiting the top ranked team to just one field goal over that span. The Bobcats led by as much as 22 until a late rally put the score at 40-25 by the break.

Ozarks shot 47% in the first half and held the highest scoring team in the nation to just 25 points, shooting only 29% from the field.

A three-pointer by Ozarks leading scorer Mike Wiebe, his first basket of the night, put the hosts up 18 only minutes into the second half before Walsh got on track and went on two separate scoring runs, the later a 15-2 spurt to get within six (51-45) at the eight minute mark. Ozarks answered back and pushed the lead back up to double digits before one more charge by the Cavs made it a five-point game (66-61). Ozarks was not to be denied however, as they held on to
eliminate the top seed.

Ozarks was led by Darian Kelly with 16 points while Wiebe did all his damage in the second half, putting in 12. Howerton also scored 12 and Nathan Peterson chipped in 11 for the very balanced Bobcats offense.

Senior guards Lamar Skeeter and Jeremy Shardo closed out their fine careers with 16 and 15 points, respectively, to lead Walsh. L.J. Sutton added 10 points for the Cavs, who suffered their second loss of the season and finish 30-2. They are the first top seed to not advance to the quarterfinals since 2007.

College of the Ozarks will play #9 Indiana Wesleyan in tomorrow's quarterfinal round at 6:00 p.m. The 32-team, single elimination tournament concludes March 15, 2011. For more information about the National Championship, click here