Cougars to Make Third Straight Trip to
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
NAIA Division II National Tournament
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (3-4-2008) -
Tuesday night was a nerve-wracking night for
the Mount Vernon Nazarene University men's
basketball team and its fans as the Cougars'
postseason hopes were resting precariously
on the final bubble needing two more
conference championship games to go their
way in order to claim the final at-large
berth into the NAIA Division II National
The first outcome that MVNU needed
to have happen was to have No. 2 seed
Cedarville University knock off No. 1 seed
and host Malone College in the American
Mideast Conference Tournament championship
game. Malone had eliminated the Cougars in
the semifinals 101-98 in overtime despite 41
points from junior guard Ben Falkenberg.
The Pioneers appeared to be headed to a
victory in the championship game which would
have given Malone an automatic berth into
the National Tournament and would have
eliminated MVNU. However, with 9.9 seconds remaining, Malone’s Ben Carver,
who shoots 87 percent from the free throw
line, missed two free throws with the
Pioneers holding a slim 83-82 lead.
Cedarville rebounded the second miss and
Ryan Short nailed a 15-foot jumper with 0.6
seconds left to give the Yellow Jackets an
84-83 victory and keep MVNU’s hopes alive.
Several members of the Cougars’ team who had
traveled to Malone for the game mobbed Short
after the game to show their appreciation.
The second outcome that MVNU needed was
for Northwestern (Iowa) College to defeat
Briar Cliff (Iowa) University in the
championship game of the Great Plains
Athletic Conference. The Red Raiders rallied
from a seven-point second-half deficit to
down Briar Cliff 77-69 to land the Cougars
their third straight trip to the NAIA
Division II National Tournament and their
seventh trip overall.
The 32-team bracket will be announced by
6:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday with the first
round action slated for March 12-13 at the
College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout,