|Taylor (Ind.) 21-11||38||35||73|
|Warner (Fla.) 26-5||23||44||67|
|Mar. 8, 2017|
|Taylor (Ind.)||Indv. Leaders||Warner (Fla.)|
|#35 Keaton Hendricks - 15||Points||#33 Adam Giger - 18|
|#35 Keaton Hendricks - 8||Rebounds||#1 Samuel Schobben - 6|
|#11 Tim Fleming - 4||Assists||2 Players (#2,#33) - 3|
|Taylor (Ind.)||Team Statistics||Warner (Fla.)|
|49% (24 - 49)||Field Goals %||38.3% (23 - 60)|
|31.6% (6 - 19)||3 Point Field Goals %||33.3% (11 - 33)|
|86.4% (19 - 22)||Free Throws||76.9% (10 - 13)|
|4||2nd Chance Pts||0|
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – Taylor turned in a memorable defensive performance on Wednesday in Keeter Gymnasium, as the No. 25 Trojans shut down the second-leading scorer in all of college basketball and slowed the entire No. 8 Warner offense in a 73-67 victory in the NAIA National Championship Tournament First Round.
"We played terrific team defense and rebounded at a high level," commented fourth-year head coach Josh Andrews. "Our shot selection was sound and we executed with confidence. We are very proud of the collective effort."
The Trojans opened on the attack, bolting to a 10-2 lead and never relinquishing the lead against the favored Royals. TU buried 12 of its first 20 looks from the floor to build a 31-12 advantage by the 6:10 mark of the opening half and led by as many as 20, before settling on a 38-23 halftime lead.
Keaton Hendricks and Jake Heggeland combined to sink seven-of-eight shots for 19 points, as Taylor shot 50.0 percent from the field as a team, committed only four turnovers and holding a 16-4 edge in paint points.
Taylor put on a defensive clinic over the opening 20 minutes of action, limiting Warner to four-of-17 shooting from the perimeter and just 27.6 percent from the floor. TU also won the battle on the boards by a 20-14 count.
The Taylor lead swelled back to 20 with five-straight points from the Purple and Gold to start the second stanza and a three-ball from Ryan Robinson opened a 46-25 gap with 15:37 to play in the contest.
The Trojan lead remained in double figures throughout the second half until a three-point play brought Warner to within 67-59 with 2:49 remaining.
The Royals continued their frantic surge in the final minutes to narrow within four points but Taylor held on, as Eric Cellier yanked down a defensive rebound and drilled two free throws with three seconds left to ice the 73-67 win.
Taylor held Warner 21 points below its season scoring average, highlighted by the defensive work from Tim Fleming on Hall, who entered the night leading the NAIA and ranking second among all NCAA and NAIA players with 31.1 points per showing. Fleming hawked Hall throughout, holding the NAIA Division II Player of the Year candidate to 14 points on four-of-20 shooting and seven turnovers. The 14-point showing was Hall's second-lowest of the year and marked just the fourth time all season that the senior guard had scored under 20 points.
TU ended the game shooting 49.0 percent from the field, including an 18-of-30 showing from two-point range. The Trojans held a 10-rebound advantage over the Royals and limited the second-seed to 38.3-percent shooting.
Six different Trojans netted at least eight points in the team effort, led by 15 from Hendricks, who sank six-of-eight baskets and also led the squad with eight rebounds. Mason Degenkolb followed with 13 points and six boards, with Fleming finishing with 11 points, four assists and two steals and Cellier adding 10 points off the bench after being honored as TU's Champions of Character representative. Heggeland closed with nine points and four rebounds, while Robinson chipped in eight points.
The win was Taylor's seventh all-time victory at the NAIA National Championship Tournament and punched TU's ticket to the Round of 16 for the fifth time in program history and the first time since 2006.
No. 25 Taylor (21-11) will play No. 11 and third-seeded Trinity International (29-5) on Friday, March 10 at 8:30 pm (ET) with a trip to the NAIA National Championship Tournament Quarterfinals on the line.