Oklahoma Baptist had enough defense and discovered some offensive firepower to upset third-ranked and third-seeded Lambuth, 89-79, Friday in the first match-up between the two teams.
TranSouth champion Lambuth entered the game averaging better than 93 points per game, the top scoring offense in the NAIA. The 79 points was the fewest the Eagles had scored in the last 16 games - all wins.
"I thought our guys did a good job in transition," said OBU coach Doug Tolin. "They didn't get many in transition and the ones they got came off of turnovers. We guarded them reasonably well in half court."
Perhaps the most telling stat was OBU's rebounding edge. The Bison dominated to the tune of 46-30 with both Brian Hill (12) and Al Moore (10) hitting double-digits in that column. Lambuth came into the game 19-0 when out-rebounding opponents and 1-3 when being out-rebounded.
"Probably thebest thing we did was the way we rebounded," said Tolin. "If they didn't make it, they didn't get a second one for a big stretch in the game."
The game was a stark contrast to the Bison's first-round win, in which the lead changed hands more than 25 times. Friday, Lambuth scored the game's first basket Brian Hill and Brent Jones scored back-to-back to begin an 11-0 run and the Bison never trailed again.
LU got within one, 18-17, with 11:29 left in the first half, but the Bison scored 10 straight with Jones scoring five points in the run to give OBU a 31-21 lead at the 5:56 mark.
The Bison led 40-30 at the half.
The Eagles closed the gap to eight points early in the second half, but the Bison responded with a 12-1 run fueled by four points by Aaron Perez. That stretch landed the OBU lead at 55-36 with 15:25 to play.
The Bison led by as many as 20, 75-55, with 6:57 to play in the game. Lambuth got it down to nine points, but never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
Jones scored 23 points to lead the Bison, followed by Evan Grace with 22, Hill with 18 and Moore with 13.
"A lot of guys really played well," said Tolin. "Charles Carter gave us a lift in the second half because we were really having a hard time guarding them inside. Evan made some shots. He got some really good looks and that was because of the ball-handling. Justin Williams gave us big minutes because it seemed like Brent and Brian were in foul trouble the whole game."
Grace, who set a school record earlier this season with 11 three-pointers, pulled the trigger early and often.
"I was just trying to keep my confidence up," said Grace. "I had shot them all season. There's no reason they won't fall in Kansas City."
OBU advanced with the win to the quarterfinals for the sixth time in coach Doug Tolin's eight trips to the tournament. OBU will play Campbellsville in a battle of unseeded teams or 11th-seed McKendree in the Elite Eight. Campbellsville was leading by 27 at halftime of that game.
The Bison had entered with a 14-3 record in second round games, including a 6-1 mark
OBU advances with a record of 24-9