Wiley College men fall short in NAIA Tournament
March 17, 2017 at 4 a.m.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The No. 25 Wiley College men's basketball team played to the final whistle but needed one more shot to fall as their second half rally fell short in a 61-59 loss to No. 5 Hope International University in the first round of the 2017 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Championship Wednesday.
"I thought our guys played extremely hard and showed some pride," head coach Jameus Hartsfield said. "We didn't make shots in the first half but we had Ricardo Artis go down. He was in the game we would have been making shots. Again, we fought hard until the end."
Artis went down with a knee injury with 15:42 left in the first half. He didn't return until 8:57 left in the first half. The Wildcats made three field goals in their final 13 shot attempts in the first half and shot 9 for 33 from the field in the first half (27.3 percent). They trailed 34-20 at halftime.
Wiley trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half. The Wildcats trailed by eight with x left in the game. George Page made a layup and was fouled. He converted the free throw to cut the deficit to five. After the Royals split a pair of free throws, Kevondric Davis hit a 3-pointer to make it a one score game with 42 seconds left. With 20 seconds left, Davis made a layup to cut pull the Wildcats within in one with 20 seconds left. Davis fouled without letting time run off the clock.
Hope International missed the front end of the one-and-one, Artis grabbed the rebound. His jumper went off the rim. George Page tried to grab the rebound but the officials called a jump ball and the Royals had the possession arrow. Artis made a last second heave from half court but it was off the mark.
Davis led the Wildcats with 14 points. He contributed seven rebounds. Artis finished his Wiley College career with his 15th double-double - scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Page reached double figures in his final game with 10 points while tallying seven rebounds. In four seasons with Wiley College, Page scored 1,531 points and grabbed 693 rebounds. Cory Jones led the team in assists in his final game with four. He finished the season with 201 assists and 448 for his career. Xavier Graves scored eight points and grabbed two rebounds in his final game.
"They have given their time and energy into Wiley College," Hartsfield said about his seniors. "I wish them the best. We got to go out and replace those guys, get better, get bigger and comeback and avenge this loss in Kansas City."
The Wildcats finished the season 23-10, which is the most wins in a season under Hartsfield. Stephen Taylor and Davis should return as starters next season.