Wolves third at NAIA tourney

The WWU men get some ‘icing on the cake' by defeating Marygrove Sunday in Denver.

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DENVER - Walla Walla University's men's basketball team claimed third place here over the weekend in the NAIA Division II Conference Championship tournament that decided the final ticket to the NAIA national competition.

The Wolves lost out in their bid to play at nationals on Saturday when they were upended by Old Dominican 86-75. But they bounced back to defeat Marygrove College 82-72 in the consolation finals.

Host Johnson and Wales defeated Marygrove in Saturday's semifinals and followed up with a victory over Old Dominican Sunday to earn the national tournament ticket. Scores were not available.

In Saturday's Wolves game, Walla Walla trailed 47-43 at halftime and was still within that margin with about four minutes to play, according to WWU athletic director Tim Windemuth. But Old Domincan was able to pull away at the end.

Old Domincan proved to be a little better than the Wolves in every statistical category, but it was the winners' bench play that decided the game. Old Dominican's reserves outscored the Walla Walla backups 24-4.

Aaron Gibbs put up 24 points and led four Old Dominican players in double figures. John Trew, who sank 4-of-5 3-point shots, followed with 16 points and Zak Kapron and Adriene Rodriguez added 10 points each.

Tristan Edwards led the Wolves with 23 points. He was followed by Ryan Spady with 16 points, Gerard Dauphin with 14 and Jony Long with 13.

Long topped the Wolves' scorecard the following day with 21 points. Dauphin added 15 points, Tristen Greendige contributed 13 poits and a team-high 12 rebounds, and Edwards was in double figres with 11 points.

Marygrove's Marcus Hopkins led all scorers with 27 points. Justin McKinney followed with 11 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, and DeAundray Armstrong tallied 10 points.

In Sunday's game, the Wolves led 41-38 at halftime and expanded their lead in the second 20 minutes of play.

"It was a good opportunity for us," WWU coach Gerry Larson said. "I think we showed we belonged there. In the first game, we were down two with four minutes to left, but had costly mistakes.

"In pre-game warmups, you'd think there was no way for us to compete against those teams because of their size. But the guys acquitted themselves."

Larson praised the play of seniors Jony Long and Tristan Edwards, as well as freshman Tristan Greenidge. The Wolves were without starting center Ryan Spady, who bruised a knee in the opener, in the consolation game, and Edwards saw 38 minutes in his place.

"We rebounded even with those guys (Marygrove), and if you saw that team you'd think that was a miracle," Larson said. "And Greenidge, with 12 rebounds and 13 points, was really key for us.

"In our first year of eligibility in the NAIA, for us to qualify as one of the top four NAIA independents in the country was reasonable," he said. "For us to go up there and compete, and win, was icing on the cake for us."

By splitting their final two games of the season, the Wolves finish with a 12-18 season record.

OLD DOMINICAN 86, WWU 75

WALLA WALLA (75) - Spady 5-9 6-8 16, Edwards 10-15 0-0 23, Dauphin 5-11 3-7 14, Long 6-7 0-0 13, Greenidge 1-3 3-6 5, Alemu 0-1 0-0 0, Gupilan 1-2 0-0 2, Urdahl 0-2 0-0 0, Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Sprenger 1-2 0-0 2, Stimmel 0-0 0-0 0, Brandon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-52 12-21 75.

OLD DOMINICAN (86) - Gibbs 11-13 2-2 24, Kapron 3-4 4-6 10, Trew 6-10 0-0 16, Rodriguez 3-9 2-4 10, Stattmiller 1-4 0-0 2, Burse 4-4 0-4 8, Dominic 1-4 0-0 2, McCurdy 2-6 4-4 9, Douglas 2-3 0-0 5, Jackson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-57 12-20 86.

Halftime - OD 47, WWU 43. 3-point goals - WWU 5-13 (Edwards 3-6, Dauphin 1-3, Long 1-1, SGreenidge 0-1, Gupilan 0-1, Urdahl 0-1), OD 8-19 (Trew 4-5, Rodriguez 2-4, Stattmiller 0-1, Russo 0-3, McCurdy 1-4, Douglas 1-2). Total fouls - WWU 18, OD 17. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - OD 29 (Gibbs 9), WWU 26 (Dauphin 6). Turnovers - WWU 21, OD 18. Assists - OD 16 (Rodriguez 5), WWU 6 (Dauphin 3).

WWU 82, MARYGROVE 72

MARYGROVE (72) - McKinney 3-7 5-7 11, Glazier 1-8 0-0 3, Armstrong 5-12 0-0 10, Sinagoga 1-7 1-2 3, Hopkins 10-24 6-7 27, Brissette 2-9 3-3 8, Jackson 3-5 2-2 8, Murdock 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 26-76 17-21 72.

WALLA WALLA (82) - Edwards 5-8 1-1 11, Dauphin 5-9 5-7 15, Long 7-13 4-6 21, Sprenger 2-3 2-2 6, Greenidge 3-8 6-7 13, Alemu 1-2 0-0 3, Gupilan 1-4 2-2 5, Urdahl 2-4 0-0 5, Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Stimmel 0-2 3-4 3, Brandon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-53 23-29 82.

Halftime - WWU 41, Marygrove 38. 3-point goals - Marygrove 3-16 (Glazier 1-5, Sinagoga 0-2, Hopkins 1-5, Brissette 1-3, Jackson 0-1), WWU 7-16 (Long 3-6, Greenidge 1-2, Alemu 1-2, Gupilan 1-3, Urdahl 1-3). Total fouls - Marygrove 21, WWU 14. Fouled out - Marygrove (Armstrong). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Marygrove 41 (McKinney 15), WWU 41 (Greendige 12). Turnovers - WWU 17, Marygrove 10. Assists - WWU 17 (Long 5), Marygrove 9 (McKinney 3, Hopkins 3).

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