Jaeves McLendon scored 28 points and Ben Brim added 23 to lead #1 seed Emmanuel College (21-10) of Georgia to an 87-78 second round win over host North Greenville at the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association (NCCAA) South Regional Tournament at Hayes Gym in Tigerville.
Kyler Vitko scored 17 points and Zach Babbitt came off the bench to add 17 for the Crusaders who concluded their season at 12-17. Paul Harrison added 13 and Jonathan Bozymowski scored 11 for NGU.
NGU trailed Emmanuel by a slight 39-35 margin at halftime, but the Lions quickly pushed the margin to 14 points at 56-42 with 16:18 left after NGU turned the ball over six times in the first four minutes. NGU turned the ball over 22 times in the game, which ultimately led to Emmanuel taking a commanding lead at 60-42 with 14:23 left. The Crusaders made a mini-run late in the game and closed the gap to nine points, but McLendon made four free throws and Brim two inside the final two minutes to seal the victory.
Emmanuel will play Chowan University of North Carolina Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. in Hayes Gymnasium for the NCCAA Regional title with a trip to Oakland City, Ind. March 19-21 for the NCCAA Nationals on the line. Chowan got 36 points from Charles Rhodes and 17 from Chris Kenon as the Hawks defeated Palm Beach Atlantic 81-72 in the other semi-final game. Rhodes hit 7-9 from three-point range and went 13-13 at the free throw line for Chowan. David Powell scored 19, Manny Lopez 14 and DeAndre Williams 13 to lead PBA.