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Pilots fly past Bears in national tournament

KANSAS CITY – Unseeded LSU-Shreveport answered No. 8 University of Pikeville at every turn and held on for a 91-87 win Wednesday night in the 2013 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship.

With the loss, UPike’s season ended at 26-7, tying for the fifth-most wins in a season since becoming a four-year school with the 1955-56 season. The Bears also fell to 8-6 in seven trips to the national tournament, a record highlighted by their 2011 run when they became the first school to beat five seeded teams en route to the championship.

Pikeville shot 50.7 percent from the field, thanks to 20-of-36 (55.6 percent) in the second half. The Bears were 26-of-40 (65 percent) inside the three-point stripe, but were only 9-of-29 (31 percent) from outside it. That figure was further complicated by an 8-of-18 (44.4 percent) performance from the free throw line.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it happened on a night when the opponent went 29-of-38 (76.3 percent) from the stripe.

Pikeville led twice early, including at 7-5 when senior Terrance Saintil scored in the paint with 18:22 to play. But the Pilots took control of the game by scoring the next 13 points. They give five from junior guard Tevin Hall, and when he hit a jumper with 14:36 to play, the lead was 18-7.

UPike had an extended run late in the half. Senior Jamar Briscoe kicked it off with eight points and junior P.J. Jenkins added eight more, and when he nailed the second of consecutive three-point shots with 1:51 to play, Pikeville had used an 18-7 run to pull within a basket at 37-35 with 1:51 to play.

Shreveport (25-6), however, scored the last seven points and took a 44-35 lead to the half.

The lead was 10, 72-62, with 6:26 to play before the Bears made another run. They scored 11 of the next 12 points, and when junior Josh Whitaker hit a jumper with 2:58 to play, the game was tied at 73.

But only 11 seconds later, senior Rodney Milum made his seventh three-point shot to put the Pilots in front to stay.

Jenkins, who had a high of 10 points since joining the Bears at midseason, nailed 6-of-7 from the arc to finish with 26 points. He added five rebounds in the loss.

Briscoe followed with 14 points to go with five rebounds and four assists, while Whitaker and senior Trevor Setty fired in 11 and Saintil finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

For Setty, the MVP of the 2011 national tournament, the 11 points gave him 1,812, a total that has him tied for eighth on the all-time scoring list with Hoskins Carroll. With 613 points during his senior season, Setty moved from 19th to the tie for eighth on the all-time scoring list.

Shreveport was led by Milum’s 30 markers, while junior Brandon Davis tossed in 21 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. Junior Mark Politte had 21 and nine rebounds, while Hall finished with 17.

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