It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.
Despite a late comeback attempt, the IUP Crimson Hawks held off Slippery Rock in the semifinal match-up of the NCAA D2 Men’s Basketball Championship, winning 53-50.
Slippery Rock was having flashbacks of last night’s game, but the outcome didn’t measure up to their previous late game upset.
“I knew it was going to be the first one to fifty to win,” Coach Lombardi said after the game.
It was a sloppy first half for both teams. After Marcel Souberbielle scored eight of IUP’s first 10 points, he didn’t score any more the rest of the half. While IUP relied on their three point shooting, Slippery Rock looked to pound the ball inside. Neither team had much success in terms of shooting percentage. IUP shot 30 percent from the field but their 44.4 percent from behind the arc kept them ahead.
Slippery Rock shot 19.2 percent from the field and an even worse 14.3 percent from behind the three point line. Devin Taylor was quiet for The Rock in the first half, only putting up two points, while Darious Clark added six.
The 2nd half was much of the same thing, with both teams posting a sub-30 percent shooting percentage at the 11:50 mark of the game. The two teams were neck and neck the entire half.
After that, the Crimson Hawks started to turn it around a little bit. They went 7 for 16 down the stretch, much better than their 11 for 38 up to that point. Souberbielle finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, with all of his points coming in the beginning of each half. Anthony Wells added 14 points and Scooter Renkin added 11 for the PSAC Champions.
When asked what he said to his team to energize his team, Coach Lombardi said, “I didn’t do anything to really get them energized. We were a little more aggressive maybe, in the second half.”
“We just scrap and claw and find a way to win,” Renkin said.
Taylor only scored nine points, while Gerald Brooks added 11 and Clark finished with 12.
IUP will take on the winner of the West Liberty/ Fairmont State game in the regional championship Tuesday night at West Liberty.
Photo Credits: IUP.edu