William Penn Sports Information Director
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. —
The William Penn men’s basketball team weathered a second-half storm and then went on a huge run for a 101-84 win over 17th-seed Bethel (Ind.) in the second round of the NAIA Division II National Championships Friday.
The top-seeded Statesmen (32-1) went wire-to-wire for the victory and will now meet 25th-seed Midland (Neb.) in the quarterfinals today at 1 p.m.
The navy and gold, who had never won a game at the championships entering this season, played much better in the second round. They rushed out to a 10-2 advantage and then blew out to a 20-point edge at 45-25.
The Pilots (25-10) closed out the first half on an 11-3 run to make for a 48-36 WPU halftime lead. he Statesmen were strong from behind the arc in the opening 20 minutes, hitting eight three pointers. Keith Steffeck paced his squad with 19 points before the break.
The huddle was well worth it as the Statesmen came out on fire on both ends to post a game-deciding 17-0 run over the next four-plus minutes of play. William Penn cruised from there to reach its first-ever national quarterfinals. The Statesmen hit 15 of their 41 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.
Steffeck finished with a game-high 26 points on 8-16 shooting (6-10 from 3-point range). The senior, who posted a double-double with an additional 13 rebounds, also made all four of his free throws as WPU finished 22-29 at the charity stripe.
The Statesmen, as they have several times before, fought through foul trouble in the second round. Brandon Beasley was hit hardest by the officials’ calls as he was limited to just eight points. The senior fouled out late, as did Blake Walker, who also recorded eight points.
James Devlin did most of his damage at the line, going 11-12 en route to 23 points. He also dished out seven assists and matched Beasley with three steals.
Taylor Stoutner was not as efficient as Steffeck from deep, but still went 6-17 for 21 points. Arman Rasul finished with eight points, while Kevin Fay contributed seven points in the win.