CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- The top two seeds in the Midwest Collegiate Conference Men's Basketball Tournament will square off in the championship game on Sunday after second-seeded Mount Mercy held off sixth-seeded St. Ambrose, 84-77, in a semifinal on Friday at Hennessey Recreation Center.
Despite leading by as many as 10 points with five minutes to go in the game, the 10th-ranked Mustangs couldn't shake the Bees, who were within four with 24 seconds left. A free throw by junior guard Bobby Sherwood and two more from senior forward Chad Underwood with seven seconds remaining sealed the deal for Mount Mercy.
Sherwood led all scorers with 21 points. He also had four rebounds, a game-high six assists and a pair of steals. Senior forward Alex Coleman posted a double-double with 17 points and 14 boards. Senior guard Lamar Wall finished with 14 points, Underwood had 13 points, four rebounds and three steals.
Matt Gossett had 18 points and six rebounds, Darren Galloway 18 points and five boards for the Bees (10-20). Nick Frazier tallied 16 points and six rebounds, Justin Blondell 16 points, five boards and six assists.
Top-seeded and NAIA Division II top-ranked William Penn pounded fifth-seeded Grand View, 96-68, in Friday's other semifinal in Oskaloosa. That sets up the third meeting of the season between the Mustangs and Statesmen with a national tournament berth on the line at 6:00 p.m. at Penn Gymnasium.
William Penn won the previous two meetings and is riding a 15-game winning streak. This is Mount Mercy's first appearance in the MCC championship game since 2002-03, and the Mustangs are looking for the second national tournament berth in school history and first since 1995-96. They also set a school record with 29 wins that season.
The MCC Tournament champion clinches an automatic berth in the NAIA Division II National Championship March 6-12 in Point Lookout, Mo. Even the loser of Sunday's contest will most likely get to nationals. As the No. 1 team in the nation, William Penn is assured of an at-large berth, while No. 10 Mount Mercy also has a great shot at heading to nationals.
William Penn will have live video of Sunday's championship game. You can find it here.