No. 3 Metro men’s basketball advanced to the NCAA Division II national championship in Atlanta, Ga. after beating No. 1 West Liberty University 78-65 March 30 at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky.
The Roadrunners were able to do something no other team was able to do this season – contain the shooting of the number one scoring team in Division II.
The Hilltoppers averaged 104 points a game this season, but a combination of the Roadrunners early lead, and the Hilltoppers shooting 6-of-20 from field goal range and only 30 percent from outside the arc during the first half, paved the way for the Runners win.
The Hilltoppers scored first in the first 10 seconds of the game, off a jump shot by junior guard Cedric Harris. The Roadrunners responded with a 15-point run in the first five minutes of the game.
The Roadrunners led 20-4 part way through the first half, but the Hilltoppers reduced the lead, and the Roadrunners headed to the locker room up 41-28. Falk hit back to back three’s with 15:35 left in the game and pulled the Hilltoppers within nine points 52-43.
West Liberty’s senior forward Chris Morrow and senior guard Alex Falk scored nine points from the arc in the first five minutes of the second half, giving the Hilltoppers something to build from, cutting Metro’s lead 64-63 off an 8-0 run with nearly two minutes left to play.
The Runners shot just over 77 percent from the free throw line and made 5-of-6 in the 55 seconds of the game, improving the lead to 10, and ultimately sealing the win.
Metro will play Drury University (Mo.) at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga., April 7 for the NCAA Division II championship game.
This marks the Roadrunners fourth trip to the national championship. They took home the title in 2000 and 2002.