Biola drops Faulkner in NAIA 1st round 84-54
KANSAS CITY, Mo (faulknereagles.com) – Things started well for Faulkner against Biola here Wednesday afternoon in the opening round of the NAIA Tournament but, at the midway point of the first half, things turned for Scott Sanderson’s Eagles. The third-ranked team in the nation began playing like it, pounding the ball inside and hitting timely 3-pointers en route to an 84-54 victory at Municipal Auditorium.
Faulkner led by five points before the critical juncture in which Biola outscored the Eagles 21-4 to take a 12-point lead at intermission. The Eagles from California then started the second half on a 13-4 run to build the advantage to 21, and Faulkner could do little to keep up despite a gallant effort. In the second half Biola shot a blistering 70 percent from the field, most coming in the paint, to prevent any hope of a Faulkner comeback.
The Eagles, the champions of the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament, end their season at 20-14. Biola won its 30th game against only three losses, and advances to the second round Friday morning.
“We were making shots early and it allowed us to get off to a good start,” Sanderson said. “I looked up and we were ahead by only one point, and we’d already made six 3-pointers. We knew they’d pound it inside on us. They had good ball movement and good spacing. They haven’t won 30 games by accident. They’re a really good team. We’ve done a pretty good job all year of masking our lack of size inside, but today they really took advantage of it.”
The rebound totals and points in the paint certainly bare that fact out. Biola used their superior size and strength inside to dominate the glass 44-18. Biola had 32 points in the paint to just 14 for Faulkner.
Faulkner sophomore Logan Jozwiak had a career day for the Eagles, making 7-of-11 3-pointers on the way to a career-high 26 points. Marquis Grays, who had a pair of first-half 3-pointers, was the only other Eagle in double figures, finishing with 10. The All-SSAC guard tandem of Di’mar HIll and Nick Drake were stifled all afternoon by the Biola pressure, combining for just 12 points. Drake had nine points in his final Faulkner game and Hill, a junior, had three.
“I’m so proud of what this team accomplished and today shouldn’t take anything away from that,” Sanderson said. “All of our seniors (Drake, Monta Sanford, Alex Anderson and Cameron Porter) have meant a lot to this program. We’ve got six of our top eight back next year, and we’re hitting the recruiting trail hard. I’m excited about the future of our program.”
Terrell Funches had 26 points and Dakari Archer added 23 to pace the Biola effort. Jeff Gonzalez added 11 for the Eagles.
With Jozwiak and Grays knocking down early shots from behind the arc, Faulkner built as much as a seven-point advantage. Faulkner lead 22-17 following a Jozwiak 3-pointer at the 8:23, but that’s when Biola grabbed control. A 12-point run, highlighted by Archer’s two 3-pointers, put Biola on top 29-22. The third-ranked Eagles then steadily pulled away, and another 3 from Archer sent Biola to the locker room with a 38-26 lead. Biola took command with its play defensively on Hill and Drake, who combined for only two points between them in the first half.