Midland University knocked off No.8 Eastern Oregon to secure the program's first-ever spot in an NAIA National Tournament Second Round game. The Warriors downed Eastern Oregon , 77-53, handling an Eastern Oregon team that was one of just four squads to be ranked No. 1 during the course of the 2012-13 season. The victory also marks Midland's 20th win of the season – another record for the Warrior basketball program.
"This is a big win for our program, and I couldn't be more pleased for our university," said Todd Eisner, Midland University men's basketball head coach. "Our effort today was tremendous, and our energy really carried us. We are going to try to get rested and prepare for another big game on Friday."
Galen Gullie led the Warriors with 21 points, hitting five of five from beyond the arch. Gullie's 21 points tied his season-high from December 1st vs Dordt College. Jerome Vaughn finished with 12 points, while Brandon Williams added 11 points and six rebounds. Ben Imig also scored 11 points and recorded nine assists and three steals. James Parrott led Midland with 11 rebounds, while contributing nine points, one block, and one steal in the win.
"We knew the first round game would be tough, and it is an exciting win," said sophomore guard Galen Gullie. "We want to keep moving, and we aren't going to settle."
The Warriors trailed 5-2 early with 15:45, but four quick points kicked off by a Jerome Vaughn layup gave Midland a 6-5 lead. At 12:48 in the first half, Avery Langford landed a bucket to tie the contest up, 12-12. Back-to-back Mountaineer three pointers gave Eastern Oregon a 22-18 advantage with just under eight minutes left in first half action, but the remainder of the half belonged to the Warriors. At 1:24 two Galen Gullie free throws capped off a 15-4 Warrior run to build a 33-25 lead over NAIA's eighth ranked squad. Two Jalen Hueser free throws with six seconds left in the half gave Midland a 37-25 halftime lead. The Warriors hit 48 percent of their first half field goals and hit three of eight from beyond the arch for 37 percent. They were eight of sixteen from the line and held Eastern Oregon to a 25 percent field goal shooting.
In second half action, Midland continued to roll with a James Parrott three point play at 16:20 expanding the Warrior lead to 16. Back-to-back Galen Gullie three pointers and a James Parrott dunk capped off a 15-2 Midland run to give the Warriors a 66-35 advantage with just over seven minutes to play in the contest. With 24 seconds left, Ben Knobbe hit a three-point shot to finish off Midland's dominant half and secure a 77-53. The victory stands as Midland's first ever NAIA National Tournament win. Midland hit 54 percent of their second half field goals and were four of six from three-point land for 66 percent. They converted 10 of 14 from line and held Eastern Oregon to shooting 30 percent from the floor.
On the game, Midland outshot Eastern Oregon 51 percent to 30 percent from the floor. The Warriors hit seven of 14 from beyond the arch for 50 percent and converted 60 percent of their free throws.
Midland University will face No.22 York College in the NAIA National Tournament's Second Round on Friday, March 8. Tipoff from College of the Ozarks' Keeter Gymnasium is scheduled for 8:30 a.m.