POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) defeated Jamestown (N. D.) 74-56 in first round action of the 22nd annual NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship.
The 2013 event is being held at the Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of College of the Ozarks.
The Wolves, making their fourth straight appearance in the National Championship field, pulled away from a 35-31 halftime edge, outscoring the Jimmies 39-25 in the second half.
Jamestown trailed 26-15 with 7:00 left in the first half but put together a comeback that had them take a brief lead at 31-30 on an 11 point run. A Tony Smit basket at the 1:26 mark of the half put the Wolves up for good. An 18-6 run by Cardinal Stritch put the game out of reach and Jamestown never cut the difference to single digits the rest of the game.
Cardinal Stritch converted 27-53 shots from the floor for 51% while limiting Jamestown to 44%. The Chicagoland Collegiate Conference member also held a healthy 31-23 rebounding advantage and forced 14 turnovers.
Cardinal Stritch had four players hit four double figures led by Derek Semenas with 19 on 6-10 shooting. Tony Smit added 13 with four steals and Jeremy D’Amico added 11 along with Darren Moore. Moore had a game high eight rebounds in just over 19 minutes of action.
Mark Hoge scored a game high 21 points in the losing effort and had four rebounds. Jared Sutherland came off the bench to score 10 and snag four rebounds for the Jimmies as they close the season with a 15-19 mark.
Cardinal Stritch is 31-3 and will face the winner of Rochester (Mich.) and Bellevue (Neb.) on Friday at 1:45 p.m in the second round of the tournament. The 32-team, single elimination tournament concludes Tuesday, March 12, with the championship game to tip-off at 8 pm.