Carroll men bow out of NAIA quarterfinals, 83-67 - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Carroll men bow out of NAIA quarterfinals, 83-67

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Carroll College’s charmed run at the Buffalo Funds NAIA National Championship came to an end Saturday after the Saints fell to Campbellsville University (Ky.) 83-67 in the quarterfinals.

The Tigers led wire-to-wire and the physical nature of Carroll's opening two games appeared to impact on Saturday’s game.

The Saints couldn’t find their footing on defense and turned the ball over 14 times, accounting for 15 Tigers points. CU consistently pushed into the paint and outscored the Saints 38-28 on the inside.

“We really struggled to get stops,” said head coach Carson Cunningham.83-67 “Obviously I wish I would have developed a plan that worked better for us. We tried a lot of different things and it certainly wasn’t from a lack of desire, our guys really wanted it. We expended so much energy the last two nights, as did they, but I don’t think we had the same pep. We just couldn’t keep them out of the lane.”

The Saints were 25 of 56 from the field (44.6 percent), including 10 of 23 (43.5 percent) from the three-point line. Campbellsville had nine more shots than the Saints and were 30 of 65 (46.2 percent) from the field. CU also outrebounded the Saints 37-29.

“We did some really nice things offensively and shot well from the three-point line but we just gave up too many easy buckets and too many rebounds,” Cunningham said.

Despite the loss, the Saints got to the quarterfinals by upsetting two tough teams, including No. 2 LSU Alexandria in the round of 16.

The run to the national quarterfinals started with the Carroll picked to finish fourth in the Frontier Conference preseason poll and starting the season 3-2.

The future is bright for the Saints. Carroll started three true freshmen in the three tournament games and did not start a single senior in Kansas City.   

“It was an unbelievable ride from this group,” Cunningham said. “I am thrilled to be a part of it and see these guys develop and grow as a team. This is a fantastic group, they are extremely hard-working, have a great attitude and they really like each other. Now we have to learn from this and try to get back her next year.”

The game was the final one for seniors Jake Hollifield and Jon Pulsifer. Hollifield was a member of the two-win team from four season ago.

“I don’t like to think about that season, it was so hard and frustrating,” Hollifield said. “To come to this point is unbelievable, I don’t know what to compare it to. We had to grind, we had to work but we got to this point and it was definitely a worthwhile battle.”

The team is just the third in school history to make a run to the quarterfinals. 

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