Kansas City, Mo. - No. 13 Georgetown,Ky. held off a comeback attempt by St. Thomas-Houston (Texas) to claim a 70-68 win in the opening round of the 2013 Buffalo-Funds NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship. The Tigers will advance to the second round and play the winner of No. 4 John Brown (Ark.)/Life (Ga.) on Friday at 12:30 p.m. CDT. The event is held at Municipal Auditorium.
Vic Moses hit 10-of-17 shots and recorded game-high totals of 26 points and a career-high 21 rebounds for the Tigers. Deondre McWhorter tallied nine points and 10 rebounds, while Garel Craig added eight points, four rebounds and three assists.
"Vic Moses is unbelievable," said Georgetown head coach Chris Briggs. "If you can't get him the ball because the defense is fronting him, then he is going to get up and get the ball off the glass on tip-ins. He's extremely talented and I'm glad he is on our team."
Georgetown (24-8) looked like a team with a wealth of tournament experience, settling in early to claim a double-digit first half lead. Moses had five points inside the opening 1:54 as the Tigers raced to a 17-6 lead. The lead was 13 at the half and climbed by a point in the second half before the Celts began their comeback attempt.
Travis Lampley provided the majority of the scoring in an 18-6 run for St. Thomas-Houston, tallying eight of his team-leading 22 points over 2:14. Caleb Williams scored the last three points of the spurt as the Celts closed to within a point, 64-63, with 2:34 remaining.
McWhorter and Moses answered with back-to-back field goals for the Tigers. Following a bucket inside by Lampley, Craig added one free throw with 15 seconds to play to help secure the victory for Georgetown.
"We came out pretty tentative," said St. Thomas-Houston head coach Todd Smith. "Instead of coming out with some fire, we got down early. Georgetown had a lot of inside players and used that to get up on us. But, I think we re-composed in the second half and made that run."
Georgetown dominated the game on the glass, posted a 50-31 rebounding advantage that included 16 offensive boards. St. Thomas-Houston committed just six turnovers, but shot 37.1 percent (23-of-62) from the field.
Lampley also added six assists, five rebounds and two steals for the Celts while Williams finished with 13 points and Adrian Morales hit a trio of three-pointers to toss in 11 points.
St. Thomas ends its season at 27-7.
Georgetown - The Tigers are making their 22nd-straight appearance at the Division I Men's National Championship and improved to 55-30 in their 32nd all-time berth ... Georgetown advanced to the second round for the third-straight season, including a quarterfinal round berth last season ... The Tigers' Vic Moses recorded a tournament-high 21 rebounds and tallied the first 20-20 game since Clyde Morris of Southern-New Orleans (La.) posted 34 points and 21 rebounds on March 15, 2012 against Robert Morris (Ill.).
St. Thomas - The Celts were making their first-ever appearance in the national tournament, one of five first-time entries in this year's field ... St. Thomas was in just its fourth season of intercollegiate competition, collecting a program-best win total of 27 after winning nine, 13 and 18 in its first three seasons ... The Celts were the first Red River Athletic Conference team to lose in this year's tournament after the league went 2-0 on Wednesday with wins coming from LSU Shreveport (La.) and SAGU (Texas) ... The loss ended a nine-game winning streak for the Celts.