S. Indiana 71, Cal.-Riverside 63
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Cortez Barnes scored the go-ahead basket with 1:29 to play as Southern Indiana rallied from a 22-point deficit to defeat California-Riverside 71-63 for the NCAA Division II championship Saturday.
Southern Indiana (29-5) overcame 36 percent (24-for-67) shooting from the field with superior depth that wore down Riverside (26-6) in the final 10 minutes.
``This game was like our season,″ said Southern Indiana coach Bruce Pearl. ``We stayed together and never quit.″
Brian Huebner tied the score at 62 on a 3-pointer from the corner with 2:19 to go. Riverside led for the last time 21 seconds later when James King made one of two free throws.
Barnes got the ball on the right baseline and banked in a 5-footer to give Southern Indiana (29-5) a 64-63 advantage. After Riverside’s Craig Marshall misfired on a 3, Chad Gilbert connected on a 3-pointer from the right corner to give Southern Indiana a 67-63 lead with 43 seconds left.
Southern Indiana held a 21-2 edge in bench scoring.
``They sent in players in waves,″ said Riverside coach John Masi. ``Our legs weren’t there in the second half and theirs were. The lack of depth in three games in four days took its toll.″
Huebner scored 18 points while Stan Gouard and Barnes each had 14 for Southern Indiana. William Wilson led Riverside with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Southern Indiana, runnerup in last year’s tournamenty, fell behind 28-6 after Riverside’s James King scored on a layup with 9:53 remaining in the half. The Screaming Eagles shot just 19 percent _ 6-for-32- in trailing 39-21 at halftime.