Sat, Jan/22 Final
Men's Basketball
58 Mount Mercy
69 vs. Evangel
Wed, Jan/26 Final - OT
Men's Basketball
58 Evangel
53 at Benedictine (KS)
Sat, Jan/29 Final
Men's Basketball
85 William Penn
84 vs. Evangel
Sat, Feb/05 Final
Men's Basketball
70 Evangel
49 at Graceland
Mon, Feb/07 Final
Men's Basketball
86 Evangel
71 at Baker
Wed, Feb/09 Final
Men's Basketball
56 Central Methodist
62 vs. Evangel
Sat, Feb/12 Final
Men's Basketball
95 Evangel
73 at Missouri Valley
Wed, Feb/16 Final
Men's Basketball
84 Evangel
97 at Grand View
Sat, Feb/19 Final
Men's Basketball
65 MidAmerica Nazarene
67 vs. Evangel
Wed, Feb/23 Final
Men's Basketball
63 Mount Mercy
71 vs. Evangel
Fri, Feb/25 Final
Men's Basketball
74 Benedictine (KS)
78 vs. Evangel
Mon, Feb/28 Final
Men's Basketball
91 Evangel
99 at William Penn
Fri, Mar/11 Final
Men's Basketball
75 Florida College
72 vs. Evangel
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Heartbreak Ends Season for Evangel Men's Basketball in NAIA First Round

Heartbreak Ends Season for Evangel Men's Basketball in NAIA First Round

The Basics Final: Florida College 75, Evangel 72 | Final Stats Records: Evangel (22-10); Florida College (31-3) Site: Fogelman Arena

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Evangel battled all the way back from a 14-point second-half deficit against Florida College in its opening-round contest of the NAIA Men's Basketball National Tournament, but Ladarron Cleveland's desperation 25-foot jumper with 3.1 seconds left handed the Valor a heart-breaking 75-72 setback Friday afternoon at Fogelman Arena. Moment's after Josh Pritchett leveled the score at 72-72 with a running 10-footer from the left side of the lane, Cleveland's heave from the deep right wing cleared the net to lift the Falcons to victory. Florida College advances to a Saturday evening matchup against the winner of top-seeded Loyola (La.) versus Benedictine-Mesa. Despite the heartbreaking season-ending defeat, the Valor nearly pulled out yet another improbable come-from-behind victory after the Falcons opened the second half with a 14-5 scoring spurt that turned a 39-34 lead at intermission into a 14-point bulge—the largest for either club in the game. Cleveland accounted for six points during the run and finished with a team-high 22 points on the day. The sophomore guard connected on 5-of-12 three-point attempts and handed out seven assists as well to lead the Falcons. Continuing a postseason trend that saw it bounce back from numerous double-digit deficits, the Valor immediately responded with a 15-3 scoring run to trim the margin to two points on a Stephen Salvi jumper with 9:59 to play. Pritchett scored seven of EU's 15 points, while Salvi and Edriel Martinborough combined to record the other eight points during the key outburst. After the Falcons scored the next three points to extend their lead back to five, Pritchett answered with back-to-back buckets to make it a 59-58 game with 7:59 to play. The Falcons Drew Kramer drained a triple with 5:47 left on the clock, before Martinborough registered the next four points to pull EU back to within a single point with just over four minutes left on the clock. Matt Simpson responded with four consecutive points for the Falcons, and a DJ Doakes jumper with 1:28 to play made it a 70-66 contest. Pritchett, who led all scorers with 25 points, came right back with a critical bucket just six seconds later to slice the Falcon lead to two, before Anthony Bittar made one of his two free-throw attempts with 22 seconds to play. Manrique Alvarado delivered a big basket to make it a one-point affair once again, and Bittar once again split a pair of attempts from the stripe to make it a 72-70 game. Pritchett then drove the left side and converted a twisting attempt from just above the block to pull EU even for the first time since late in the first half. Pritchett concluded a banner postseason by going 11-of-19 from the floor, while Martinborough capped his EU career with a 20-point effort, as well as a team-best four assists. Cade Coffman added nine points and a team-high seven rebounds, completing his Valor career by becoming just the fifth player to top the 1,700-point plateau. The All-American finished his four-year career with 1,708 points as EU's No. 5 all-time scorer. EU finished the day 29-of-72 (0.403) from the floor, despite an abysmal 2-of-26 (0.077) effort from beyond the three-point arc. The Valor forced 22 turnovers, while committing just 10, but Florida College outrebounded EU by a 45-36 margin. In its first NAIA postseason appearance since 2015, the Valor logged 22 victories under first-year head coach Bert Capel, who established a program record for coaching wins by a rookie head coach.

For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, visit Facebook at Facebook.com/EvangelValor, Twitter (@EvangelValor), or EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on their favorite EU teams by downloading the Evangel Athletics Gameday App through the App Store or Google Play.

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