Final Four: Similarly built Tarleton, IUP fight for spot in final

Tarleton State vs. Indiana (Pa.), 6 p.m. Thursday || Flash Game Blog: www.theflashtoday.com

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Tarleton junior Malcolm Hamilton drives to the basket against Mount Olive Wednesday. The Texans face Indiana, Pa. at 6 p.m. Thursday in a national semifinal. || Photo by JESSIE HORTON/TheFlashToday.com

By BRAD KEITH

Photos by JESSIE HORTON

TheFlashToday.com

EVANSVILLE (March 25, 2015) — After surviving Wednesday’s national quarterfinal round, the top two scoring defenses at the 2015 NCAA Division II Elite Eight meet up in the semifinals at the Ford Center Thursday evening.

Graphic by JESSIE HORTON/TheFlashToday.com
Graphic by JESSIE HORTON/TheFlashToday.com

Tarleton State (31-3) and Indiana (Pa.) (30-6) square off with a spot in the national championship on the line. It’s the first meeting between the schools after Tarleton defeated Mount Olive (NC) 77-59 and IUP edged Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 69-65 on Wednesday.

Tarleton, champion of the South Central Region, leads Elite 8 teams in scoring defense, entering the tournament allowing just 60.2 points per game. Not to be outdone, however, IUP allows just 61.3. The teams are also similar in terms of offensive balance – Tarleton had four scorers in double figures and six with at least nine points Wednesday, while IUP had five reach double digits.

Season stats show the same trends for each national power, with the defensive performances being key for each on Wednesday. Tarleton held Mount Olive 16 points below its season scoring average, while IUP limited Azusa Pacific to 28.5 points less than the norm.


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Courtesy NATHAN BURAL/Tarleton Athletic Communications
Courtesy NATHAN BURAL/Tarleton Athletic Communications
Courtesy NATHAN BURAL/Tarleton Athletic Communications
Courtesy NATHAN BURAL/Tarleton Athletic Communications

Tarleton against ranked competition:

IUP was No. 25 in the latest National Association of Basketball Coaches poll, released before the start of the Division II playoffs. No. 7 Tarleton is 7-1 against ranked opponents this season, including 3-0 against teams ranked in the top 10.

Conference/Regional Affiliations:

Tarleton is a member of the Lone Star Conference, part of the South Central Region.

IUP is in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and the Atlantic Region.


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Coaches:

Lonn Reisman is in his 27th season and third Elite Eight with Tarleton State. He has 589 wins at Tarleton, tying him for 16th most in Division II history, and 610 career victories.

Joe Lombardi is in his ninth season as a head coach, all at IUP. His record is 202-76.


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Yes, it’s in Pennsylvania:

Don’t be confused by the naming of IUP. The university is not part of the Indiana University system. Rather, it’s located in the town of Indiana, Pa. Coincidentally, California, Pa. is in the Division II women’s final and faces California Baptist, actually from California, Friday evening.

Coverage:

Online: Join our live blog at www.theflashtoday.com, or follow on Twitter at @theflashsports and @flasherathnews.

Live stats: ncaa.com

Radio broadcast: 90.5 KTRL-FM or online at tarletonsports.com

TV broadcast: CBS Sports Network on DISH Network channel 158 and DirecTV channel 221.


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Damion Clemons tries to work around a Mount Olive player for a rebound. || Photo by JESSIE HORTON/TheFlashToday.com
Damion Clemons tries to work around a Mount Olive player for a rebound. || Photo by JESSIE HORTON/TheFlashToday.com
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Nosa Ebomwonyi rises and fires one of his three 3-pointers through the net after taking a kickout pass from Malcolm Hamilton, 1. || Photo by JESSIE HORTON/TheFlashToday.com
Nosa Ebomwonyi rises and fires one of his three 3-pointers through the net after taking a kickout pass from Malcolm Hamilton, 1. || Photo by JESSIE HORTON/TheFlashToday.com

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