KANSAS CITY, MO (WDAM) - For Steve Knight and his William Carey University Crusaders, “13” has turned out to be quite the talisman so far.
In his program’s 13th trip to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ men’s basketball national tournament, 14th-ranked William Carey has made a historic run through the bracket and stands two wins away from the Crusaders’ first national crown.
Carey overcame an 18-point deficit and turned an 11-point halftime hole into a tie at the end of regulation before claiming a 102-98 overtime victory over the University of Arts and Sciences in Saturday’s quarterfinals of the 2019 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at Municipal Arena.
“The heart these guys showed getting down early,” said Knight, who is in his 37th season leading the Crusaders. “They put us in a hole and we kept fighting, fighting, fighting.”
The victory, Carey’s third in three days, gave the Crusaders (25-9) the Cramer Bracket crown and put them in their first-ever NAIA Final Four.
“I’m exhausted, emotional,” Knight said. “Been up here been coaching a long time and to make it to the Final Four is unbelievable.”
Carey will play the winner of another Saturday quarterfinal between Georgetown College and Arizona Christian University. That semifinal game is set for 6 p.m. Monday.
The Crusaders fell behind the Drovers (22-11) early, trailing by as many as 18 before pulling within 51-40 at halftime and then rallying in the second half to outscore Arts and Sciences 46-35 in the second half.
Javonte McDonald came off the bench to tie for a game-high 21 points. Cameron Douglas added 19 points and Brandon Cranford had 16. Branden Sheppard finished with nine points and 13 rebounds and Dalen Dotson added eight points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.
The Drovers got 21 points and four assists from Cameron Hines, Geno. Geon Artison added 19 points and nine rebounds, Dedrian Palmer had 19 points and eight rebounds, Stephon Hall finished with 18 points and seven assists and Clay Long 12.
To view the full NAIA basketball bracket, click here.