ELLENDALE, N.D. -- It was nervy at the start and close until the end, but the Sabercats have the regional start they were looking for.
Taylor Ball hit a career-high 34 points as the Sabercats defeated #4 Providence 94-82 to advance to tomorrow's regional semifinal against #1 Faith Baptist.
- Result: #5 Maranatha 94-82 #4 Providence
- Venue: Trinity Bible College
- Location: Ellendale, N.D.
- Attendance: 57
- Record: MBU (11-12), PUC (8-14)
Regionals has a way of bringing the nerves out of the best of them, and this game followed suit. In the opening possessions, Maranatha rushed their chances and their possessions, giving Providence a few extra looks at the basket. Maranatha eventually began to settle into their own rhythm, but Providence had already established theirs. Taylor Ball had a first-half to remember, as his 20-point total was just three away from his career-high. Aaron Sanders and Stephen Wilkerson contributed nine and six points, respectively, but the Pilots hit their shots from downtown to make it interesting at the break.
At the half, MBU held a narrow lead of 43-41 in a game that was dead even.
The Second half was touch-and-go all the way til the end. The lead changed hands too many times to count as the Sabercats searched for that elusive rhythm.
But when the game came down to the wire, the Sabercats pulled away emphatically. Ball led the way, upping his career-high to 34 points, and Sanders, Wilkerson, and Zeke Steuerwald all joined Ball in double digits as the Sabercats checked the first item off their list in their North Region title defense.
MBU Starters: 2- Ball, 3- Mayhak, 4- Steuerwald 5- Sanders, 23- Wilkerson
- Ball: 34 PTS (Career-high), 14 REB (ties career-high)
- Sanders: 19 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST
- Wilkerson: 16 PTS, 12 REB
- Steuerwald: 14 PTS, 3 AST
- MBU: Shot 49 percent from the field
- Last time: The Sabercats won 104-69 at home during the 2016-17 season
- Series: Maranatha now leads the series 1-0
- Providence competes in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association as well as the North Region
The Sabercats will face the #1-seeded Faith Baptist Bible College Eagles tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. in the NCCAA North Region Semifinal. Find details at mbusabercats.com/schedule.