Darius Mickens scored a game-high 22 points to lead a balanced attack as the Cal State San Bernardino men’s basketball team cruised to an 88-70 win over Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday night at The Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana, to advance to the Final Four of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
This marks the second time Cal State San Bernardino has reached the semifinals of the Division II Tournament. The program’s other trip to the Final Four came in 2007, when the Coyotes beat Wingate in the Elite Eight but lost a heartbreaker to Barton in the semifinals.
Cal State San Bernardino (31-3) will square off against top-seeded Nova Southeastern (34-0) in the semifinals Thursday in Evansville.
Mahmoud Fofana came off the bench Tuesday and posted 18 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Dontrell Shuler also scored 18 points, and Brandon Knapper had 15 points and five assists. Robby Robinson finished with eight points and nine boards.
Lincoln Memorial (30-5) held a 26-22 lead with 5:24 remaining in the first half, but Cal State San Bernardino closed the half with an 18-5 run. Knapper got that run with his only 3-pointer of the night, and Mickens added seven points to help the Coyote take the lead at the break.
Knapper broke the program record for most 3-pointers in a career when he sank his 189th shot from distance with 5:15 remaining in the first half. The previous mark of 188 career 3-pointers was set by Eric Carpenter (1992-94). Earlier in the day, Knapper was named to the NABC All-American First Team, becoming just the third player in program history to earn All-American honors in back-to-back seasons.
The momentum carried over to the second half, as Cal State San Bernardino extended its lead to 70-49 with 9:38 remaining in the game.
Cal State San Bernardino scored 48 points in the paint Tuesday night and outrebounded Lincoln Memorial 50-35 in the game. The Coyotes knocked down only 1 of 11 shots from 3-point range in the opening half, but sank 5 of 12 after halftime. Shuler made three 3s in the second half.
Matthew Sells and Me’Kell Burries scored 18 points apiece for Lincoln Memorial. Jordan Walters added 13 points for the Railsplitters.
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