The William Penn Men’s Basketball team entered the NAIA National Basketball Tournament on a low, dropping two of their last three games played and mourning the loss of player Marquis Todd after a tragic incident a couple of weeks ago.
But when the lights came on, the Statesment took care of their business, making six clutch free throws to get a 68-63 victory over the upset minded Drovers of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.
Usually in a tournament format where the entire field is seeded, the highest seeds rarely lose to the lowest seeds, but in this tournament, the top two overall seeds were bounced by the last two teams to make it into the bracket. William Penn knew they had to be on their game if they were going to advance to the Round of 16 for the third straight year.
Unfortunately, it was never easy, as USAO was able to slow the tempo of the game to the point where William Penn could never truly pull away. Penn would get a 12 point lead with eight minutes to play, but the Drovers were able to cut it down to two late before Penn got six free throws from Terrell Thompson and Aakim Saintil to ice the victory.
Saintil led the way for the Statesmen with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. Dominique Shaw added 15 points for the Statesmen, while Thompson finished with 10 points and 4 assists.
William Penn now faces Dalton State on Friday night at 7:30 PM in the Round of 16. You can hear that game on 99.5 FM/740 AM KMZN, radiokmzn.com, and the KMZN mobile app starting around 7:15 PM.