MBB: USF Wins Opening Round Game At NAIA DII Tourney

POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – A basket by Austin Fox with under a minute to go put No. 11 University of Saint Francis (Ind.) on top in its 70-68 win over St. Francis (Ill.) in the first round of the 2015 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship.
Fox broke a tie game at 65 with a jumper in the lane to put the Cougars up for good with under a minute left to go. USF then hit on the front end of a pair of bonus free throw opportunities for a 69-65 lead but Fighting Saints’ guard Edvinas Presniakovas knocked down a long three-pointer to make it a one-point game, 69-68, with five seconds left.
After a St. Francis foul, USF guard Josh Hogan converted 1-of-2 free throws for a 70-68 lead and the Fighting Saints failed to get a shot off over the final two seconds.
Fox led USF with 19 points and eight rebounds, one of three Cougars’ players in double figures. Kegan Comer added 12, going 3-for-5 from beyond the arc, and Kyle Sovine scored nine and pulled down nine rebounds. USF shot 46% for the game.
USF was in complete control early, storming out to a 22-6 lead over the first 10 minutes. St. Francis, courtesy of a 21-5 run, came back to tie the game at 27 and trailed by just one at the break, 30-29.
Making its first ever trip to the Division II National Championship, St. Francis shot 39% for the game and was led by Presniakovas with 17 points. Ilya Ilyayev added 10 points and seven rebounds. The Fighting Saints close the year with a 23-10 record.
USF improved to 26-7 and will play No. 6 Morningside (Iowa) or Tabor (Kan.) in the second round on Friday, March 13 at noon.

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