GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – For the first time in more than 14 years, the University of Michigan-Dearborn men's basketball defeated Cornerstone University, earning a spot in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Postseason Tournament finals.
UM-Dearborn trailed by eight at the half, despite a strong start for senior Jason Penn (SR/Detroit, MI), who poured in 17 points before the break. The Wolverines shot 52.5 percent in the second half, forcing overtime tied at 83-83.
The Wolverines scored all seven of their overtime points at the free-throw line, including a pair of makes from senior Gage Throgmorton (SR/White Lake, MI) with two seconds left to secure a four-point lead. No. 1 Cornerstone got a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to fall, but it was not enough as UM-Dearborn advances with a 90-89 win.
The fourth-seeded Wolverines will host sixth-seeded Rochester College in the WHAC Championship Game at 7:30 pm Monday at the UM-Dearborn Fieldhouse. The winner will earn an automatic bid to the 2018 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament March 7-13 in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The win over the top-ranked Golden Eagles pushes UM-Dearborn to 20-12 overall this season, tying the Wolverine mark from last season for the most wins in program history.
Penn refused to let his career end on Saturday. He finished with a career-high 38 points on 16-of-35 shooting from the field. He narrowly missed a double-double with nine rebounds.
Junior Xavier Crofford (JR/Detroit, MI) added 18 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, while junior Mafiaon Joyner came off the bench to add 14 points and six rebounds. Throgmorton finished with 11 points, helping extend his career at least one more game.
The Wolverines shot 36-of-77 from the field, 6-of-13 from deep and 12-of-21 at the line.
Michael Bradshaw led the Golden Eagles with 22 points, while WHAC Player of the Year Kyle Steigenga added 20.
WHAC Postseason Tournament (Higher seed hosts)
Quarterfinals, Wednesday, Feb. 21
No. 1 Cornerstone def. No. 8 Concordia, 78-62
No. 2 Indiana Tech def. No. 7 Siena Heights, 89-69
No. 6 Rochester def. No. 3 Aquinas, 71-65
No. 4 UM-Dearborn def. No. 5 Madonna, 80-78
Semifinals, Saturday, Feb. 24
No. 4 UM-Dearborn def. No. 1 Cornerstone 90-89 (OT)
No. 6 Rochester def. No. 2 Indiana Tech 84-68
Championship, Monday, Feb. 26
No. 4 UM-Dearborn vs. No. 6 Rochester, 7:30 pm, Monday at UM-Dearborn Fieldhouse