Anthony Banks scored a career-high 30 points, Walter Hill added 16 points and five boards and top-seeded Shorter will play for a spot in the Fab Four after a 92-77 win over 16-seed Point Loma Nazarene on Friday morning at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.
The Hawks (33-2) advance to their first Elite Eight in their first appearance in the NAIA national tournament. Shorter will take on ninth-seeded Rogers State (24-8), a 69-63 winner over Evangel in Friday’s first second round game, today at 3 p.m. EDT for a chance to clinch a spot in the Fab Four.
“We are very excited and really looking forward to playing another game,” said Shorter head coach Chad Warner. “I’ve seen Rogers State play twice out here and they are very big, very physical, very athletic and well coached.
“We are looking forward to the chance to compete against them.”
Two days after scoring 105 points in a first round win over Life, Shorter flirted with the century mark again, this time behind 51 percent shooting and a career day from Banks, who shot 11-for-16 from the floor and pulled down 15 rebounds to record his team-best eighth double-double of the season.
Hill, who played all of 12 minutes in Wednesday’s first round because of foul trouble, came out of the gates hot to score 10 first half points as the Hawks built 33-25 halftime lead and trailed all of 1:13 in the game.
Hill’s 3-pointer at the 18:47 mark of the first half put Shorter up 3-2 and the Hawks led the rest of the way.
“Anthony Banks is just an unflappable warrior and that may have been as complete a game as I have seen Walter Hill play,” said Warner.
“Anthony’s motor constantly runs, he is a joy to coach and we will be counting on him to play big again tomorrow.
Walter, like a lot of our guys this week, has just raised his game to a whole new level.”
Shorter came in ranked fourth in the NAIA in scoring at 82 points a game.
Point Loma ranked in the top 10 in the country in scoring defense, holding foes to 62 points per contest.
Something had to give, and that something was Point Loma’s defense, especially in the second half.
Shorter opened the second stanza on a 6-2 run capped by a transition layup from Dante Harvey, then went up 41-27 on a short jumper by Johnathan Crawford. Eric Nix’s second 3-pointer of the game pushed Shorter’s lead to 46-29 with 14:46 to go.
Point Loma’s Marek Klassen, who led the SeaLions with 20 points, hit a trey to pull Point Loma to within 10 at the 10:11 mark, but Shorter got a driving layup from Kenny Leverette, two free throws from Nix and a thunderous put back slam from Crawford off a miss by Nix to make it 64-48 with 7:42 remaining.
Point Loma never got back within 10 the rest of the way as Shorter, which went 43 of 55 from the foul line in the win over life, finished 33-for-42 from the stripe against the SeaLions to maintain a comfortable lead down the stretch.
Banks sealed the win in the final minute with two highlight reel alley-oop dunks off of lobs from C.J. Davis, as Shorter’s speed and athleticism wore down the SeaLions (21-10) in the second half.
“Tempo was a key for us,” Warner said. “Point Loma is a very efficient offensive team. We didn’t have much time to prepare for them, but I felt like we defended about as well as we could have.”
Shorter again got tremendous play from Leverette and Nix. Leverette scored 11 points and snared six rebounds while Nix scored 16 points and dished out seven assists for the second straight tournament game. Shorter won the rebounding battle 43-29 and held Point Loma to 10-for-36 shooting from 3-point range, well under its 36 percent average.