(Story courtesy of Trinity University)
BELTON, Texas - Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) champion Trinity University upset 10th-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor, 68-66, in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship on Friday evening. Box Score
The game marked the 12th consecutive win for Trinity, which improved to 21-8 on the season, and advances to the Second Round Game against Whitworth University tomorrow night. The Cru fell to 25-3 with the loss, which was the second straight defeat for UMHB, which came into the game ranked 10th in Division III.
The Tigers shot an impressive 58.1% from the field in the first half, building an 11-point lead (46-35) by the end of the first period.
Trinity actually trailed 32-26 with 6:17 left in the opening half, but the visitors scored 20 of the final 23 points - including 14 straight to start the run - to finish the half.
In the opening minutes of the first half, UMHB cut the lead down to just five (48-43), but Trinity pushed it back to double figures a few minutes later. That was when the Cru made their comeback.
Mary Hardin-Baylor tied the game 59-59 with 7:09 remaining, then finished off a 16-2 run that erased Trinity's 11-point advantage, and put UMHB up three (62-59) with just over five minutes to play.
After UMHB made 1-2 from the free throw line to make it 66-64, Trinity then missed a chance to tie it at the line - also connecting on 1-2 foul shots with 1:55 remaining. The Cru then missed its next two shots, but got offensive rebounds on both to keep possession.
Trinity finally got the rebound on the third miss by UMHB, which came with 35 seconds to play. Beall, one of two Tiger seniors on this year's team, then nailed the game-winning three-pointer with just 17 seconds left on the clock. Mary Hardin-Baylor missed its final shot that would have tied the game, and the Tigers escaped with the win.
Beall finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, hitting just 5-13 from the field, but sinking 4-5 from three-point range.
Zach Lambert led all scorers with 24 points, shooting 10-15 from the floor, and 3-5 from distance. Robert Kitzinger added 14 points to round out Trinity's double figure scorers.
Cory Meals led UMHB with 11 points, while Greg Wiernas added 10. The Cru was held to just 36% shooting in the second half, hitting 9-25 from the field.
After its hot-shooting first half, Trinity was held under 30% for the second half, but hit just enough shots to win it in the end.
Trinity and Whitworth will play Saturday night at 7:00 p.m., at Mary Hardin-Baylor. Whitworth is currently ranked seventh by D3hoops.com.