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Morning Sports Report - March 21, 2014

Alabama is the end of the road for the Evangel Crusaders. And the Drury men and women Panthers gear up for big challengers in the NCAA D2 Elite Eight.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo--The Drury Panthers held a media day Thursday afternoon for both the mens and womens teams who are still involved in the NCAA Division 2 national championship tournament.

Steve Hesser's men will play in Evansville next Wednesday.

The defending national champs will face a familiar foe in West Liberty out of Wheeling, West Virginia.

The Hilltoppers are 29-3 and played in the Elite Eight last season with Drury.

West Liberty runs a full court pressure defense, and isn't shy about shooting threes.

They average 100 points a game this season.

"We have to be disciplined.  We have to attack their pressure," said Drury coach Steve Hesser.  "We have to have decision making when we have opportunities to score.  But we also have to make them play defense in the half court.  They'd just assume that you not do that.  That you shot it quick and keep the tempo at a fast pace..."

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo--The 27-3 Drury Lady Panthers have a tough draw as well.

At least on paper.

The Drury women are making only their third trip to an Elite Eight and will take on Bentley.

The Bentley Falcons are unbeaten and ranked number one in the country.

The team from Massachusetts is 32-0 and features five seniors and two grad students.

Their coach has won 900 games, but Drury coach Steve Huber says his team has an edge.

And he can't wait to hit the floor in Erie, Pennsylvania next Tuesday.

"They're a very, very good team and deserving of being number one," said Lady Panthers coach Steve Huber.  "What I like about us is that I think we've hit our stride.  I think we're playing our best basketball.  I think the advantage that we have is that we've learned to play grind it out games.  I don't know if they've ever been in a grind it out game.."
 
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KANSAS CITY, Mo--The Evangel Crusaders tipped off the NAIA division one mens tournament in Kansas City Thursday afternoon.

Steve Jenkin's Crusaders were unseeded and faced the seventh seeded Talladega Tornadoes from Alabama.

And Talladega beats Evangel 88-71.

The game was tied at halftime at 33, but the Tornadoes would pull away in the second half.

Zack Kleine scored 20 points for the Crusaders, and J. J. Williams added 19.

But it wasn't enough.

Evangel finishes the season with a 23-11 record.   

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