OSKALOOSA, Iowa -- Three was the number of the night in the Midwest Collegiate Conference championship game. Unfortunately, that wasn't good news for second-seeded Mount Mercy, which fell to top-seeded William Penn for the third time this season, 104-81, in a top-10 men's basketball match up at Penn Gymnasium.
Playing in their first MCC title game since 2002-03, the 10th-ranked Mustangs shot 25-of-31 from the free throw line, committed only seven turnovers and shot nearly 60 percent from the field in the second half. On most nights, that's good enough to win. But not Sunday, especially when the top-ranked Statesmen got hot from long distance.
It was only a five-point game at intermission, but like the last meeting between these two teams, the second period was largely one-sided. William Penn went 15-of-23 from beyond the arc in the second half alone while outscoring Mount Mercy, 66-48, over the final 20 minutes. The Statesmen finished 22-of-44 from 3-point range for the game.
Four Mustangs reached double figures, led by senior guard Lamar Wall's 17 points. Junior forward LaDon Singleton added 16 points, senior forward Chad Underwood 15 and senior forward Alex Coleman 10. Underwood had a team-high eight rebounds and a pair of steals, while junior guard Bobby Sherwood tallied four assists.
Taylor Stoutner drained nine treys and led all scorers with 30 points. Keith Steffeck had 19 points, Kevin Fay 16 and Brandon Beasley 15. Beasley, Blake Walker, Lamonte Jenkins and Ross Howe each collected six rebounds and Walker also handed out seven assists.
William Penn (30-1) will head into the national tournament as the top seed overall. With the second-most wins in school history, Mount Mercy (27-5) is nearly a lock for one of eight at-large bids to the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship, which takes place March 6-12 in Point Lookout, Mo.
It would be the second national tournament appearance in school history and first since 1995-96 for the Mustangs. The at-large bids are determined by the final top 25 coaches' poll that is released on Wednesday. Pairings will be announced during a special live stream event via the NAIA's Facebook page that night at approximately 7:15 p.m. Central Time.