Atchison, Kan., will be the site on Tuesday night at 7 p.m as the Peru State men's basketball team looks to capture the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) tournament championship.
Peru State, by virtue of holding off a late charge form the William Penn Statesmen Saturday afternoon, will be playing in the Heart championship for the second-straight year. The Bobcats will be facing the No. 1 team in NAIA Division 1 – the Benedictine Ravens.
The Ravens also had to fend off a challenge, that from the Clarke Crusaders, to avoid an upset and host the championship tilt. Benedictine will head into the championship contest with a 30-2 mark while the 'Cats are now 22-10.
Peru State defeated the Statesmen 84-82 while Benedictine topped Clarke 74-72.
First Half Action
Jamil Maddred (Camden, N.J.) hit a pair of free throws to start the scoring for the Bobcats at the 19:38 mark. Maddred would follow by making one of two charity tries before the Statesmen got on the board with nearly two minutes gone in the first half.
The game would be tied three times early at 5-5, 7-7, and 9-9 before the teams continued to trade leads with William Penn having its last lead of the game at 16-15 with 11:08 remaining in the first 20 minutes.
A trey by DeMon Hyler (Kansas City, Mo.) off an assist from Lyle Hexom (Omaha) gave the 'Cats an 18-16 lead. From that point on, the Bobcats would hold the lead, even though the Statesmen would make it real close in the second half.
Peru State would have its first double-digit lead after Hexom hit a trey on an assist from Brandon Jones (Houston) to lead 27-16 at the 8:46 mark.
With 4:39 left in the half, the 'Cats would move out to its largest lead in the game to that point at 42-26 after Deonte McReynolds (Chicago) hit a bucket on an assist from Maddred.
Later, the Bobcats would lead by 18 at 51-33 after Hexom hit another trey, this time on an assist from KeShawn Wilson (Lincoln) with one minute left in the first half. William Penn would close the half with a bucket for a 51-35 Peru State lead after the first 20 minutes.
Second Half Action
The Statesmen came out and outscored the Bobcats 13-4 to pull within seven with 16:23 left in the game. Jones would score a bucket to put the lead back up to nine which ironically would be the largest lead during the rest of the game.
William Penn would later pull within three at 63-60 at the 10:38 mark before Jones would hit another bucket to give the 'Cats a five-point cushion.
Peru State would later lead by seven at 72-65 after Maddred hit a bucket off on assist from Terry Moore Jr. (Kansas City, Kan.) with 6:25 left.
With 2:23 left in the game, the Bobcats led 84-78 after Hexom hit another trey on an assist from Jones. This would be the last scoring for the 'Cats, but they were able to hold the Statesmen to just four points over the last two minutes to seal the win.
WILLIAM PENN GAME BOOK
Both teams shot the ball well from the floor. Peru State made 33 of 66 field goals for 50% including hitting 9 of 27 from long range for 33.3%. At the free throw line, the Bobcats made 9 of 15 for 60%. William Penn connected on 31 of 66 for 47% while making 8 of 26 from behind the arc for 30.8%. At the charity stripe, the Statesmen made 12 of 18 for 66.7%.
Peru State finished with a slight rebounding edge as they grabbed 35 boards compared to 33 for the Statesmen. The 'Cats dished out 18 assists while William Penn finished with 14.
The Statesmen committed two more turnovers than the Bobcats as they finished with 12. Peru State blocked three shots while William Penn had one. The 'Cats grabbed 11 steals – eight more than the Statesmen.
Peru Player Statistics
Two Bobcats finished with double-doubles. Jones led all scorers with 26 points while grabbing ten rebounds. Hexom added 24 points and also had ten rebounds. Maddred was also in double figures as he scored 11. Wilson and Moore Jr. each scored seven points. Maddred also had six boards.
Jones almost finished with a triple-double as he dished out a game-high eight assists. Maddred and Wilson each handed out three dimes.
Moore Jr. was credited with two blocks while Hexom added one. Maddred led the team with three steals while Jones, Hexom, and Moore Jr. each had two.
Benedictine has announced their ticket prices for Tuesday night. It will be $8 for general admission and $2 for 17-and-under. They anticipate opening the gates around 6 p.m. Only Heart and NAIA passes will be accepted.
In addition, the game will be televised on ESPN3 via the computer. The link is www.espn.com/watch.
NAIA Division I Men's Championship
Peru State has secured a bid to the upcoming NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Championship in Kansas City, Mo. The tournament will run from March 20 through March 26 with the first round being conducted on March 20 and 21.
The Peru State Foundation, along with the Campus Activities Board, will host a watch party Wednesday, March 13, at 5 p.m. The event will be held in the Student Center.
For ticket information, please go to: https://goo.gl/cf3qud