KANSAS CITY, Mo. (March 15) —— No. 7 OUAZ (Ariz.) put on an impressive performance in the quarterfinal round at the 2023 NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship Final Site on Wednesday evening, March 15, using a dominant second half to defeat No. 4 Montana Tech 76-58. [Full Box Score and Game Stats]
The game started out as a closely contested affair, with OUAZ taking a slim 30-29 lead into halftime. But in the second half, the Spirit came out firing on all cylinders, outscoring the Orediggers 46-29 and shooting an impressive 50.0% during that period to secure their spot in the Final Four. This is the first time the Spirit have advanced this far in the NAIA national tournament. Read more: No. 1 College of Idaho routs No. 6 seed Tougaloo, 83-66
Leading the way for OUAZ was Josiah De’laCerda, who finished with a game-high 20 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three blocks in 36 minutes of play. He scored 13 of his total points in the first half
Kolten Hitt finished with 17 points and going 7-for-12 from the field. He was also 3-for-5 from beyond the arc and added five rebounds and a steal, while Devin Collins had a solid performance as well, grabbing 10 rebounds, scoring five points, and dishing out two assists in 24 minutes.
Alex Villi and Keshawn Bruner also contributed to the win, scoring 10 and eight points, respectively, and combining for nine rebounds and four assists.
For Montana Tech, Asa Williams led the way with 15 points, despite going 4-for-13 from the field and 1-for-6 from beyond the arc. He also added seven rebounds and one assist in 31 minutes of play.
Camdyn Larance had a strong showing as well, scoring 16 points and going 5-for-10 from the field and 2-for-3 from beyond the arc.
Chrishon Dixon (9) and Hayden Diekhans (5) also contributed to the effort with a combined 14 points and six rebounds, but Michael Ure, who is averaging more than 11 points per game, struggled from the field, going 0-for-5, including 0-of-4 from 3-pointers and finishing with just one point in 18 minutes of play for the Orediggers.
Despite the loss, Montana Tech had a solid season, finishing with an overall season record of 29-5 and making it to the quarterfinals of the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship.
OUAZ, on the other hand, will move on to the Final Four, where they will face tough competition as they look to win the championship. The Spirit improved to 25-9 this season.