The Spalding University Golden Eagles‘ men’s basketball team is headed to the 2013 NCAA Division III tournament. They will play Washington University (WU) in the first round on Saturday, March 2, at the WU Field House in St. Louis, Missouri. Game time is set for 8:00 p.m., EST.
Spalding athletics has spent the past five years completing its transition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and this is the first time the Golden Eagles’ men’s basketball team is eligible to compete in the post-season Division III tournament. The the 62-team field was announced on February 26, and the tournament will culminate in Atlanta on April 7.
“The wait has been well worth it,” head coach Kevin Gray says. “Whenever you can make the NCAA Tournament, it’s special.”
The Golden Eagles (20-7) clinched a berth in the NCAA tournament February 23 with a 64-62 victory over Eureka College. The game-winning shot came with 53 seconds left in overtime, when Johnell Hardin (Providence High School) hit a 3-pointer for his only points in 34 minutes of action.
“I was looking around for one of the better shooters on our team or our big man [Jametrius Brasher], who was the [conference tournament] Most Valuable Player,” Hardin says. “They backed off me and I just shot it.”
“He’s like that,” Gray says. “He’s as clutch as they come.”
Jametrius Brasher, the Male High School graduate who scored just four points in the first half, led the Golden Eagles with 20 points, six rebounds and six blocks. He said he and his teammates are playing for DeWhon McAfee, who was averaging a team-high of 21.3 points before injuring his left knee on a breakaway dunk against MacMurray on Feb. 4. Along with Brasher, the SLIAC all-tournament team includes senior Domonique Sangester (Louisville Eastern High School).
The entire NCAA Division III bracket is available online.