PERU – The visiting Wildcats kept clawing back and putting pressure on the Peru State men’s basketball team Saturday afternoon. But, in the end, it was not enough as the Bobcats prevailed over the visiting Baker (Kan.) team 87-81.
Baker actually shot the ball better than Peru State in the contest. The Wildcats made 27 of 59 field goals for 45.8% and was even better from long range as they made 14 of 29 for 48.3%. Baker connected on 13 of 15 free throws for 86.7%. Peru State made 27 of 65 field goal tries for 41.5% and they made 14 of 38 three-pointers for 36.8%. The Bobcats will need to be better at the free throw line in the post-season as they hit 19 of 32 for 59.4%.
Peru State had a slight rebounding edge as they finished with 37 rebounds compared to 31 for the Wildcats.
Peru State was led by Lyle Hexom who scored 22 points – all in the second half on 7 of 14 shooting which including making 6 of 10 treys.
Brandon Jones finished with 10 points and a game-high ten rebounds to earn a double-double.
With the win, Peru State wrapped up the second seed in the upcoming Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) Post-season Tournament which begins Tuesday night. The Bobcats finished the regular season with a 20-10 record and more importantly Peru State improved to 15-9 in conference play to finish behind Benedictine (Kan.).
The Wildcats’ season is over as they finished 10-19 overall and finished 12th in the Heart with a 7-17 mark. Only the top ten teams make the conference tournament.
Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament Field
PERU – With the 24-game conference regular season schedule completed, the postseason slate is set to tip off with the opening round of the 2019 Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) Men’s Basketball tournament on Tuesday, March 5.
Benedictine (Kan.), currently ranked first in the NAIA, took the No. 1 seed after finishing with a perfect 24-0 conference record. This is the first time a team has finished the Heart unscathed since Evangel’s perfect 20-0 run en route to the NAIA Men’s Basketball Division II National Champions title in 2001-02. The Ravens punched their ticket to the National Tournament as the regular season champion.
Nine other teams will join Benedictine in the single-elimination tournament to crown a postseason champion, which earns an automatic berth to the 82nd NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Tournament, set for March 20-26 in Kansas City, Mo. All conference tournament games will be hosted by the higher seeded team with tipoff set for 7 pm unless otherwise noted.
The Peru State men’s basketball team, by virtue of its win on Saturday over Baker (Kan.) 87-81, claimed the second seed in the upcoming tournament.
Culver-Stockton (Mo.), Mount Mercy (Iowa), Graceland (Iowa), and MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) finished the season with a four-way tie. Culver-Stockton and Mount Mercy each boasted a 4-2 record in the head-to-head tie breaker. The tiebreaker between those two squads then moved to Criteria B (Record vs. conference opponents starting with the top in descending order) where a win for the Wildcats over No. 2 seed Peru State gave them the No. 7 seed and the Mustangs the No. 8 seed.
Graceland took the No. 9 seed thanks to a sweep over MidAmerica, who were slated in the No. 10 spot. Grand View (Iowa) and Central Methodist (Mo.) also ended the season with identical 12-12 conference records and a split in the season series, but the Vikings received the higher seed (No. 5) after recording a win over Peru State.
The first round of postseason play will take place on Tuesday, March 5, featuring two games. No. 7 Culver-Stockton will host No. 10 MidAmerica Nazarene, and No. 8 Mount Mercy will host No. 9 Graceland. The top six teams each earned a first round bye and will begin play in the quarterfinal round.
No. 1 Benedictine will host the winner of the Mount Mercy/Graceland game. No. 2-seeded Peru State will host the winner of the CSC/MNU matchup. The other two quarterfinal games set to take place on Thursday evening are No. 4 Clarke (Iowa) hosting No. 5 Grand View and No. 3 William Penn hosting No. 6 Central Methodist.
Peru State split with both Culver-Stockton and MidAmerica Nazarene during the regular season. The Bobcats topped the Wildcats of CSC 105-56 in December before getting beat in Canton 77-75 on a last-second shot. Peru State topped MNU at home on January 2 86-70 before falling on the road 74-68 two weeks ago.
The championship game, set for March 12, will be aired on ESPN3.
The Heart of America Athletic Conference will play host to the 82nd Annual Buffalo Funds-NAIA Div. I Men’s Basketball National Tournament, which returns to the historic Municipal Auditorium on March 20-26. Tickets for the entire event are available at www.NAIAhoops.com/tickets.
#HEARTMBB TOURNAMENT SEEDING:
- Peru State
- William Penn
- Grand View
- Central Methodist
- Mount Mercy
- MidAmerica Nazarene
Culver-Stockton/MidAmerica Nazarene vs. Peru State
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Al Wheeler Activities Center, Peru
Radio: B103 or Otoe County Country