It was a tremendous day for HBCUs in the NAIA tournament as the Tougaloo Bulldogs and Langston Lions advanced to the Sweet 16.
Six-seeded Tougaloo advanced following a 75-62 upset win over Southwestern Assemblies of God. This is the first time the Bulldogs have made it this far in the tournament since 2009.
Tougaloo is now one of four teams seeded sixth or higher remaining in the NAIA tournament.
Trajan Fielder led the Bulldogs with 25 points, connecting on five three-pointers. Darryl Jones finished with a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds, while Cameron Copeland filled the stat sheet with nine points, 16 assists, and six rebounds.
SAGU got off to a huge start building a 12-point lead in the first eight minutes. Tougaloo responded in a big way outscoring SAGU 27-9 to end the half.
The Bulldogs took their momentum into the second half leading for the remainder of the game on their way to victory.
Tougaloo will now move on to face Florida College for a spot in the Regional Final.
The Round of 16 field is set!! Congratulations to all of the teams who made it!! See you all in Kansas City!! pic.twitter.com/pYNvNSNf44
— NAIA Hoops Report (@NAIAHoopsReport) March 9, 2023
Langston moves on
Langston kept its championship hopes alive after defeating Southwestern (Kan.) 87-65. This is the furthest Langston has advanced in the NAIA tournament since 2017.
AJ Rainey led the way for Langston scoring 32 points on an efficient 11-of-14 shooting from the field, including seven 3-pointers.
He was one of four Langston players to score in double figures along with Toru Dean (19 points), Tristan Harper (11 points), and Cortez Mosley (10 points).
It was a wire-to-wire win for the Lions after blitzing Southwestern to a 24-6 lead in the first nine minutes.
Langston will face Ottawa University of Arizona in the next round.
Xavier University of Louisiana did not have the same fortunes getting knocked out of the tournament after suffering a 76-61 loss to the top-seeded College of Idaho.
The Gold Rush’s season ends with an overall record of 23-9. Xavier was outscored 17-6 in the first 6:19 of the game and was simply unable to overcome the deficit.
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