Dordt Basketball Season Ends In Quarterfinal Loss

Date posted - March 11, 2012

The Dordt College men’s basketball season came to close as the McPherson Bulldogs took a dramatic 82-78 come from behind win over the Defenders in the quarterfinals of the NAIA Division II National Tournament played at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri on Saturday afternoon, March 10. The loss ends an historic season for Dordt College as the Defenders finished with an all-time season high 30 wins and an all-time high .857 winning percentage.

The Defenders struggled from the floor in the early stages of the first half and found themselves trailing 18-8 with 11:34 left in the half. A hot handed Cliff Warner kept Dordt College close as the junior guard nailed back to back three-point shots to pull the Defenders within four at 18-14 and Warner knocked down another pair of three-pointers to cut a seven point McPherson advantage down to just one at 23-22 with 7:51 to play.

An old fashioned three-point play by the Bulldogs followed by a Joey Powers bucket pushed their lead back to six (28-22) with 6:32 to play but the Defenders responded with a ten point run that included a three pointer by Shawn Keizer at 4:24 that gave Dordt College their first lead of the half at 29-28, and a Vogel dunk and made free throw extended the Dordt advantage to 32-28 at 3:46 and the Defenders took a 35-32 lead in to the locker room.

Dordt’s Cliff Warner led all scorers in the first half with 12 points on 4 of 5 from three-point range with Austin Katje adding five while Jordan Vogel and Kyle Lindbergh added four each with Vogel also grabbing five boards. The Bulldogs were paced by Jordan Crawford’s eight points and five rebounds with Aaron Frazier and Adam Bruner each adding five. Team stats in first half were almost identical with both sides picking up seven assists while McPherson had eight turnovers to Dordt’s seven and McPherson had 17 rebounds with Dordt grabbing 15.

In the second half, three-point baskets from Austin Katje and Cliff Warner pushed the Defenders out to a nine point lead (47-38) at the 15:00 mark and a pair of Warner free throws gave the Defenders a double digit cushion at 52-42 with 13:38 to play. With a Trevor Wolterstorff bucket from the paint, Dordt College continued to hold on to a 10 point lead (56-46) with just over 12 minutes to play.

A six point Bulldog run, capped by a pair of Chris Crawford free throws, cut the Dordt advantage down to four (56-52) but Chris Sievers hit a pair of free throws of his own and another Trevor Wolterstorff bucket gave the Defenders an eight point (60-52)lead. Dordt continued to hold on to that eight point cushion (67-59)with 7:09 to play but Mason Hewitt’s make from the paint followed by back to back threes by Bruner and Shivers tied the game at 67-67 with 5:46 to play.

A Chris Sievers 10 foot jumper and a Cliff Warner three pointer off a Bulldog miscue gave the Defenders a little breathing room, back up five  (72-67) with 4:31 to go. The Bulldogs got within three on two occasions, at 72-69 and 74-71 but Trevor Wolterstorff backed his man in and scored and Cliff Warner hit two free throws to put Dordt up 7 (78-71) with just 51 seconds to play.

Trailing by seven, with their backs against the wall, the Bulldogs’ Samson Shivers knocked down a long three-pointer to get within four (78-74) with 35 seconds to play. McPherson fouled the Defenders and Dordt could not convert either free throw and with 27 seconds left Aaron Frazier knocked down another three to get within one (78-77).

Still clinging to a one point lead the Defenders turned the ball over on a inbounds pass near midcourt that ended up out of bounds on the McPherson baseline. Shivers made a third straight Bulldog three-pointer to give McPherson a two point lead (80-78) and after a timeout, the Defenders turned it over on an inbounds play near midcourt with seven seconds left and the Defenders were forced to foul. With :02  to play Chris Crawford hit both free throws to seal the win and send the Bulldogs in to the semifinals on Monday.

The Defenders were led by junior guard Cliff Warner who finished with 24 points on 7 of 13 shooting, including 6 of 10 from behind the arc and 4 of 6 from the free throw line; Warner also grabbed 3 boards and doled out 3 assists. Trevor Wolterstorff and Chris Sievers both had 13 points with Wolterstorff shooting 6 of 13 from the floor and 1 of 2 from the charity stripe while also pulling down a team high 7 boards while Sievers was 4 of 10 from the field and 5 of 6 from the line with 6 boards.

Leading the way for the Bulldogs was Jordan Crawford who finished with 14 points on 5 of 16 from the floor with 2 of 4 from three point range and 2 of 3 from the stripe while ripping down a game high 10 caroms. Samson Shivers finished with 13 points on 4 of 7 from the floor and 3 of 5 on 3s with 2 of 2 from the line. Adam Bruner had a dozen with a game high 4 assists and Aaron Frazier and Chris Crawford rounded out the double digit scorers with 11 each.

Dordt shot 28 of 58 from the floor for 48.3% and knocked down 9 of their 19 three point attempts for 47.4% but struggled from the free throw line, making 13 of 22 for 59.1%.

McPherson finished the afternoon shooting 49.2% from the field on 31 of 63 attempts, making 9 of 21 three point shots for 42.9% and 11 of 13 from the charity stripe (84.6%).

The Bulldogs outrebounded the Defenders 37 to 30 with McPherson coughing the ball up 15 times while Dordt turn it over 13 times.


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