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.
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“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.