The Whitworth men’s basketball team seemed destined to reach the NCAA Division III Elite Eight, but a pesky Mary Hardin-Baylor team took control over the final five minutes to upset the Pirates on their home court 71-63.
The Crusaders led by as many as 12 points in the second half, but Whitworth rallied to take a 60-56 lead with 4:31 remaining. Mary Hardin outscored Whitworth 15-3 the rest of the away to stun the large home crowd.
“We were just a few shots away tonight, but I couldn’t be prouder of the way we fought back to get the lead,” Whitworth coach Matt Logie said in a news release.
Richland graduate Colton McCargar led Whitworth in scoring for a third consecutive game, pouring in 20 points off the bench. He was 8-for-16 from the field. George Valle added 17 points and Dustin McConnell had 13. Wade Gebbers dished out a game-high eight assists, while Taylor Farnsworth grabbed 11 rebounds.
“To come as far as we have and to have so many different players step up has been great to witness,” Logie said. “I’m really proud of this team.”
Mary Hardin-Baylor will play St. Mary’s (Md.) in the section final on Friday afternoon in Salem, Va.
The Pirates (26-4) reached the Sweet 16 for a fourth consecutive year and for the fifth time in school history.
NCAA Division II women
Grand Canyon 68, UC San Diego 57: Judy Jones had game-highs of 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Antelopes (23-8) broke open a close contest in the final minutes to end the Tritons’ (22-11) season in the West Regional in Bellingham.
Simon Fraser 68, Northwest Nazarene 57: Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe had game-highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds to led the Clan (24-5) past the Crusaders (20-9) in a West Regional quarterfinal in Bellingham.
Simon Fraser will play Grand Canyon in a regional semifinal Monday at Western Washington.
Cal State Monterey 66, Chico State 64: Brittani Jefferson’s layup with 3.9 seconds left lifted the Otters (20-8) past the Wildcats (23-6) in a West Regional quarterfinal in Bellingham.
Western Washington 70, Academy of Art 50: Britt Harris had a game-high 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the host Vikings (26-3) to their ninth consecutive win, ending the Urban Knights’ (23-9) season in Bellingham.
Western, ranked No. 5 nationally, faces Cal State Monterey at 5 p.m. Monday at home in a regional semifinal.