Shawnee State freshman guard Shy Johnson (24) pulls up for a shot over Florida Memorial's Kiesha Alexander (22) during the first half of the Bears' 74-58 win in the first round of the NAIA National Tournament. Johnson scored nine points for the Bears.
For the first time since 2003, Shawnee State will be in the second round of the national tournament.
It wasn’t a pretty win for the Bears. There were jitters, miscues, confusion, and everything else that could be expected with a 10-day layoff and a first round tournament game.
But it was a win.
A 74-58 opening round win over Florida Memorial to be exact.
SSU shot well below its season average from beyond the arc and the free throw line, but was able to hold on to its 10-point halftime advantage and end the Bears’ four-game national tournament losing streak (’08 to Minot State, ’06 to Dakota State, ’04 to Indiana Wesleyan and ’03 to Dickinson State in the second round).
The team did little in terms of celebrating the win. Aside from a few high-fives they were very business-like as they congratulated Florida Memorial on its season and left the court.
SSU is currently in the stands to watch the Hastings(Neb.)/College of Idaho contest (the Bears will face the winner of that game Friday at 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m. EST).
After the game, the team will travel a few miles south for dinner at the Olive Garden. They will return to the Tyson Events Center tonight for the “Parade of Champions.”