Unseeded Pikeville wins NAIA national title
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 2:35 AM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Pikeville College went from unseeded to undisputed NAIA champion.
Trevor Setty tied a career high with 32 points and grabbed 17 rebounds as the Kentucky-based school completed an improbable run through the NAIA Division I men's basketball tournament with an 83-76 overtime victory Tuesday night over Mountain State.
The Bears won their first national title and became the first unseeded team in championship history to defeat five seeded teams in the tournament.
"We don't consider our wins in this tournament to be upsets," Setty said. "We wanted to come out and prove to everyone in the country that we are for real."
Pikeville (30-7) finished tied for third place in the Mid-South Conference, but was relentless in the tournament against a string of favored teams - including third-seeded Mountain State (33-4).
"You're darn right we were playing for respect," Pikeville coach Kelly Wells said.
Setty, a slender 6-foot-9 forward, hit seven 3-pointers to keep Pikeville in the game when it seemed that Mountain State's inside power might be too much.
As the Bears cut down the nets and the band played "My Old Kentucky Home," Wells struggled to put his team's accomplishment in perspective.
"I can't believe the road we took to get here," Wells said.
Pikeville beat top-seeded Robert Morris (Ill.), defending national champion Oklahoma Baptist and defending national runner-up Azusa Pacific (Calif.) to reach the semifinals. The Bears overcame a 15-point deficit against Martin Methodist (Tenn.) to reach the final and trailed most of the way against the Cougars from West Virginia.
Quincy Hankins-Cole, who finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds, hit two free throws to tie the game at 68 with 28.2 seconds left in regulation. When Tay Spann missed a short runner in the lane and the Cougars couldn't convert after an offensive rebound, the game went to overtime.
A floater by Justin Hicks gave Pikeville a 72-70 lead at the 2:50 mark of overtime and the Bears were ahead to stay. David Nyarsuk, Mountain State's 7-1 center, fouled out late in regulation and Wells felt that was a key factor in Pikeville's overtime success. Hankins-Cole was able to go to work inside without having to worry about Nyarsuk's intimidating defensive presence.