MARYVILLE, Mo. – Ryan Bruggeman had 29 points and second-seeded Southwest Minnesota State took advantage of a late technical foul to earn a 74-70 victory over East Central (Okla.) in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II Central Region men’s basketball tournament on Sunday night.
Southwest Minnesota State (28-5), which tied a school record for victories in a season, will play for its third region championship Tuesday night against top-seeded and host Northwest Missouri State. The Mustangs won region titles in 2001 and ’09.
Third-seeded East Central (25-8) led 56-47 with 8 minutes, 47 seconds to play, but Southwest Minnesota State rallied with an 11-2 run, tying the score on back-to-back three-pointers by Taylor Schafer.
Schafer gave his team the lead for good with 2:30 to play at 66-64 with two free throws. With 1:01 to play, East Central’s Braxton Reeves picked up a technical after a missed jumper. Schafer made one free throw, and Mitch Weg soon hit two more for a 69-64 lead.
Schafer scored 15 points, 13 in the second half.
Northwest Missouri State 74, Augustana 53: The host Bearcats improved to 31-1 by beating the fifth-seeded Vikings (24-9).