Nationally sixth-ranked Valdosta State earned its first-ever berth in the men's NCAA Division II Elite Eight by defeating the Rollins College Tars 71-58 in the NCAA Division II Tournament South Regional final at Arkansas Tech University on Tuesday night.
The fourth-seeded Blazers (28-4) scored the first eight points of the game and they held a 39-31 lead at halftime.
Second-seeded Rollins (27-6) took its only lead of the night with an 11-2 run early in the second half. The Tars went in front 47-46 on a Nick Wolf free throw with 12:37 remaining.
Kevin Harris responded with a 3-pointer for Valdosta State to give the Blazers a 49-47 edge with 12:21 to go, and it was all Valdosta State from there.
Harris' trey sparked a 16-2 Blazers' run that put them in front 62-49 with 1:36 left.
Rollins College missed 19 consecutive field goal tries from the 13:38 mark of the second half until Matt Robertson's put-back basket with 57.6 seconds left, but by then the outcome was decided.
Marvin Dibble led Valdosta State with 18 points. Harris had 12 points and Marquis Robinson added 11 points for the Blazers.
Nick Wolf paced the Tars with 16 points.
Brandon Friedel of Arkansas Tech, Tony Dennison of Barry, Tristan Crawford of Valdosta State and Tyrone Curnell of Valdosta State were named to the All-South Regional team. Rollins' Wolf was voted the most outstanding player of the regional.
Valdosta State advances to the men's NCAA Division II Elite Eight March 24-27 in Springfield, Mass.]]>