“We were outsmarted, outplayed, and out-hustled,” said Coach Gary Bailey in summation of a disappointing evening for seven seniors playing their last home game. The Cougars once again had the Tigers number in the second half after trailing Grace 29-26 at the break.
“It’s frustrating, no question,” said Bailey, “but I’m confident our players and coaches will get things figured out by tournament time.” And that time is fast approaching with the NCCAA II Midwest Regional beginning in two weeks. Kuyper has locked up the #1 seed in the regional and will stand a good chance of moving to the #1 spot in the national rankings after downing the #1 Tigers for the second time this season.
Zach Schutte led the Tiger scoring in defeat with 17 points but the player of the game for the Tigers had to be junior Greg Salmon. Coming off the bench, the former Wayland High grad had 9 rebounds in 16 minutes of play including 5 on the offensive end. “We need his effort out of everyone if we make a substantial tournament run,” said Bailey.
The Tigers have ten days off before traveling to Dunbar, Wisconsin and Chicago to take on regional foes Northland International University and Moody Bible Institute. It will be time spent getting healthy, in more ways than one.