Tag Archives: NCAA

Bulldogs Hold On to Beat Vols in Athens

Sometimes, games just don’t go your way for a variety of reasons. There is very little action, you’re not on your toes, all the action is on the other end of the field from where you are. There are tons of reasons why you walk away from a game thinking, “this sucks”. For much of yesterday’s match up between the Tennessee Vols and Georgia Bulldogs on a beautiful day at Sanford Stadium in Athens, I felt like I was going to walk away with absolutely nothing worthy of print. The action in the first half was mediocre, I had missed some peak action plays (darn you Gurley), I felt “off”. But midway through the third quarter, I found my groove and worked through the grind. Here is some of my coverage from the game, but as always, working next to some great guys and girls is what makes these days bearable. That is, until you realize they had a better take than you.

 

Members of the Georgia Bulldogs run onto the field prior to Saturday’s college football game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Ramik Wilson (51) attempts to sack Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Nathan Peterman (12) during Saturday’s college football game at Sanford Stadium in Athens. Georgia defeated Tennessee 35-32. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Bulldogs running back Nick Chubb (27) dives into the end zone for a touchdown during Saturday’s college football game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Bulldogs defensive tackle Toby Johnson (88) struggles at the line with Tennessee Volunteers offensive linesman Marcus Jackson (75) during Saturday’s college football game at Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley (3) runs the ball up the field during Saturday’s college football game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Bulldogs running back Nick Chubb (27) is tackled by a group of Tennessee Volunteers defensive players during Saturday’s college football game at Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley (3) points to the crowd as he walks into the end zone for a touchdown during Saturday’s college football game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium in Athens. Georgia defeated Tennessee 35-32. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Bulldogs defensive end Josh Dawson (91) celebrates after recovering a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown during Saturday’s college football game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium in Athens. Georgia defeated Tennessee 35-32. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Tennessee Volunteers tight end Daniel Helm (80) gets his fingertips on a high pass over Georgia Bulldogs safety Corey Moore (39) during Saturday’s college football game at Sanford Stadium in Athens. Helm would drop the pass in the end zone. Georgia defeated Tennessee 35-32. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley (3) leaps over the pile to score a touchdown during Saturday’s college football game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Teammates celebrate with Georgia Bulldogs running back Nick Chubb (27) after he scored a touchdown during Saturday’s college football game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley (3) celebrates with fans after defeating the Tennessee Volunteers 35-32 in Saturday’s college football game at Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

2014 D-II Elite Eight: Drury Falls to West Liberty

Drury Panthers guard Drake Patterson, left, and guard Lonnie Boga, right, sit on the bench after fouling out of Wednesday’s Elite Eight game against the West Liberty Hilltoppers in the 2014 NCAA Division II men’s basketball tournament at the Ford Center on March 26, 2014 in Evansville, Indiana. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

 

To end my basketball season, I spent a week with the defending Division II National Champions, Drury Panthers, as they made their way to Evansville, Indiana to compete in the D-II Elite Eight. Much like last year’s title run, I spent a large portion of my time with the team, following them from the hotel to the Ford Center, and to a local YMCA for a community engagement event. Spending time with these guys off the court has revealed a lot about how they operate on the court. Seeing them play with young kids and teach the fundamentals of basketball showed a love for the game that goes beyond the championship rings. Game day came on Wednesday and the Panthers looked extremely focused and ready to take on the Hilltoppers from West Liberty in their Elite Eight matchup. In the end, Drury was drowned by a barrage of West Liberty key three-pointers, including Seger Bonifant’s 6-6 behind the arch. Drury would fall 85-75, ending their chance for a repeat as national champions. A huge thanks go out to Drury for hiring me to cover this for them, and also to the staff at the News-Leader for having the faith that I can cover some of these great assignments for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#6 Wichita State Survives Close Call in OT Against Missouri State

Wichita State forward Darius Carter (12) celebrates while walking off the court of an NCAA college basketball game against Missouri State on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, in Springfield, Mo. Wichita State defeated Missouri State 72-69 in overtime. (AP Photo/David Welker)

The #6 team in the country, the Wichita State Shockers, made their way to Springfield to take on Missouri State in the second Missouri Valley home matchup of the season. In order for the Bears to win the game, they need to get off to a strong start. They did just that. It seemed that every streak that Wichita State would go on, Missouri State had an answer in the form of a well timed three-pointer. At halftime, the Missouri State Bears were up by 19 points, and seemed like they were on the verge of a major upset. But Wichita State didn’t go anywhere. They slowly chipped away at the lead, and tied it up with less than two minutes to go. By the end of regulation, neither team’s defense was giving way. To overtime they went. With both teams exhausted from the physical play, it was Wichita State that was able to pull off a win and stun the Missouri State Bears with a three point win in front of 10,776 fans. The final score was 72-69.

* Photos Copyright Associated Press and David Welker*

#15 Jackrabbits beaten by (2-6) Bears

 

I think the Missouri State Bears surprised everyone yesterday at Plaster Sports Complex when they beat #15 South Dakota State 35-21. In the past, Missouri States football woes have been well known, and this year is no different. The Bears have come extremely close in a few games and were only one play away from being 6-2 instead of 2-6 on the season. That being the case, it would not have been a far off thought that the Bears would have lost to a nationally ranked team in the JackRabbits, but Missouri State’s defense came alive on homecoming weekend to deliver the Bears with one of the most impressive wins of the past few years. My favorite part of the game? There were some extremely hard hitting defensive stands for Missouri State, including one where Safety Caleb Schaffitzel practically body slams a South Dakota State wide receiver. Here are a few of the images from Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

College Football: #10 Pittsburg State Gorillas Smash Abilene Christian Wildcats

Noah Cheshier (86) of the Abilene Christian Wildcats walks off the field after De’Vante Bausby (14) of the Pittsburg Gorillas intercepted a pass during Saturday’s college football game at Carnie Smith Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

 

I spent my Saturday afternoon two weeks ago in a new environment. It is hard to be an outsider in the hostile “Jungle” of Pittsburg State University’s Carnie Smith Stadium as the sea of red quickly envelops any guest willing to step foot inside the stadium. I was contacted by Abilene Christian University’s Sports Information department to document the Wildcats game against the top 10 ranked Pitt State. Even within the first few moments of the game, it would seem that the ACU Wildcats were up for the challenge to take on the Gorillas. On Pittsburg State’s first possession, ACU defensive back Tyler Chapa intercepted a pass on the Gorilla’s 25 yard line and ran it back for a touchdown. While the Wildcats were off to a great start, their lead wouldn’t last for long as the Gorillas answered quickly and fiercely throughout the rest of the game to take a 28-14 lead late into the fourth quarter. The ACU Wildcats would score one more touchdown, but poor clock management allowed the Pittsburg State Gorillas to walk away with a 28-20 victory on homecoming weekend. A huge thanks goes out to the ACU staff and team for welcoming me into their pack so quickly and for allowing me to make some great photos of the game.

 

Members of the Abilene Christian Wildcats warm up on the field prior to Saturday’s college football game against the Pittsburg State Gorillas at Carnie Smith Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

 

Captains from both the Abilene Christian Wildcats and the Pittsburg State Gorillas watch the coin flip in the air prior to Saturday’s game at Carnie Smith Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

 

A general view of Carnie Smith Stadium during Saturday’s college football game between the Abilene Christian Wildcats and the Pittsburg State Gorillas on October 5, 2013 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

 

 

The Abilene Christian defensive lines up against the Pittsburg State offensive line during Saturday’s college football game between the Abilene Christian Wildcats and the Pittsburg State Gorillas at Carnie Smith Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

 

 

Jesse Harper (42) of the Abilene Christian Wildcats looks toward the Pittsburg State Gorillas offense prior to the snap of the ball during Saturday’s game at Carnie Smith Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

 

Angel Lopez (21) of the Abilene Christian Wildcats lays a hit on Anthony Abenoja (12) of the Pittsburg State Gorillas during Saturday’s football game at Carnie Smith Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

 

Angel Lopez (21) of the Abilene Christian Wildcats reaches out to tackle Jeff Seybold, Jr. (1) of the Pittsburg State Gorillas during Saturday’s football game at Carnie Smith Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

 

Nick Richardson (5) of the Abilene Christian Wildcats is held by Nick Richardson (73) of the Pittsburg State Gorillas during Saturday’s game at Carnie Smith Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

 

John David Baker (17) of the Abilene Christian Wildcats is sacked by Nate Dreiling (11) and Deron Washington (45) of the Pittsburg Gorillas during Saturday’s football game at Carnie Smith Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

 

Jeff Seybold, Jr. (1) of the Pittsburg State Gorillas heads back to the sideline after scoring a touchdown during Saturday’s game against the Abilene Christian Wildcats at Carnie Smith Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

 

 

Deron Washington (45) and Jason Peete (4) of the Pittsburg State Gorillas celebrating after stopping the Abilene Christian Wildcats on a fourth down attempt during Saturday’s game at Carnie Smith Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

 

Abilene Christian Wildcats Head Coach Ken Collums walks off the field after losing 20-28 to the Pittsburg State Gorillas at Carnie Smith Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

 

 

 

Panthers win DII National Championship

What a year! I can now say that I have been fortunate enough to document two championships in the same year. I was sent by the Springfield News-Leader to document the Drury Panthers mens basketball team as they made their way to Atlanta, Georgia for the Division II National Championship game. The Drury Athletic Department was very accomodating in getting me the best access they could for their run at the national title.

This season has been a magical one for the Panthers as they made history throughout the postseason. They have only won one National Championship in their history. Their first came in 1979 at the NAIA level. They had never been to an elite eight, final four, or national championship at the DII level. Needless to say, that has changed now.

Drury, a private university with 1,600 students,came to Atlanta to play the Metro State Roadrunner from Denver for the DII mens title. Metro State, a primarily commuter school of about 22,000 students, has a storied history in the postseason and this year was just an extension of just that. The championship game itself was a prime example of what championship games should be like and fortunately for Drury (and my photos) the Panthers would pull out one great game. Check out the NCAA’s highlights to see how this one unfolded in front of a crowd of 7,700, including over 1,300 DU faithful.

Long story short, Drury came back from a 12 point deficit at half, to defeat a team who was 64-4 when leading at the half. The energy in Philips Arena was incredible. Here is part of my take from gameday.

Drury Panthers forward Ian Carter (23) is greeted by cheerleaders prior to the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game between the Metro State Roadrunners and the Drury Panthers at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

A flag is presented during the National Anthem prior to the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game between the Metro State Roadrunners and the Drury Panthers at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Metro State Roadrunners sr. Jonathan Morse (44) and Drury Panthers forward Ian Carter (23) jump for the tipoff during the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Members of the Drury Panthers run onto the court prior to the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game against the Metro State Roadrunners at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury Panthers guard Alex Hall (33) dribbles up the court during the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game against the Metro State Roadrunners at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury Panthers hold up signs during the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game between the Metro State Roadrunners and the Drury Panthers at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury Panthers guard Drake Patterson (11) shoots a three during the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game against the Metro State Roadrunners at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury Panthers head coach Steve Hesser talks with Drury Panthers guard Brandon Lockhart (21) during the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game against the Metro State Roadrunners at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Metro State Roadrunners so. Nicholas Kay (4) attempts to drive past Drury Panthers forward Teddy Simniok (31) during the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury Panthers guard Brandon Lockhart (21) drives past Metro State Roadrunners sr. Demetrius Miller (24) during the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury Panthers guard Lonnie Boga (14) lays in a ball during the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game against the Metro State Roadrunners at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury Panthers forward Cameron Adams (24) grabs a loose ball on the ground during the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game against the Metro State Roadrunners at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Members of the Drury Panthers cheer after the Panthers scored during the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game against the Metro State Roadrunners at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury Panthers fans cheer on the Panthers during the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game against the Metro State Roadrunners at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

A Drury Panthers fan cheers on the Panthers during the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game against the Metro State Roadrunners at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury Panthers forward Ian Carter (23) embraces assistant coach Brandon Kimbrough after defeating the Metro State Roadrunners in the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury Panthers forward Ian Carter (23) walks through confetti after defeating the Metro State Roadrunners in the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury Panthers head coach Steve Hesser celebrates with his team after the Panthers defeated the Metro State Roadrunners in the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury Panthers fans celebrates after the Panthers won the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game against the Metro State Roadrunners at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Members of the Drury Panthers hold up the National Championship trophy after defeating the Metro State Roadrunners in the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

A member of the Drury Panthers cuts a part of the net after the Panthers beat the Metro State Roadrunners in the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

I’d like to thank the Springfield News-Leader for trusting me with such a big assignment and for the hospitality of Drury Athletics, who I have been fortunate enough to spend so much time with over the past week. Congrats to the Drury Panthers on a very successful season!

Members of the Drury Panthers hold up the National Championship trophy after defeating the Metro State Roadrunners in the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game at Philips Arena on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Three Days, Seven Games, Little Sleep: The 2013 NCAA D-II Midwest Regionals

In Southwest Missouri, we love our basketball. It doesn’t matter if it is high school, college, or professional, people go crazy for the hoop. So, when the NCAA announced that the Division II Midwest Regional tournament would be held at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on the campus of Drury University, it quickly became big news. Media outlets from around the area began pushing interest in the tournament and the fact that the local team, the Drury Panthers, had gotten the top seed, made the news even bigger. Over the three days of the tournament, I covered seven games, for thirteen clients across the country, met some great players, and got very little sleep. My hat goes off to the staff at Drury for their incredible hospitality and patience. In this image heavy post, I will be posting some of my favorite images from the tournament, so hang on tight.

Day 1: Quarterfinals

Chris Dowe (5) of the Bellarmine Knights drives towards the hoop during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional game against the Indianapolis Greyhounds at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 16, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (By David Welker/Special to the C-J)

Lawrence Thomas (12) of the Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles drives towards the hoop during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional game against the Wayne State Warriors at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 16, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (By David Welker/For the Courier and Press)

Keith DeWitt (31) of the Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles watches free throw attempts during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional game against the Wayne State Warriors at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 16, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (By David Welker/For the Courier and Press)

Manny Ogunfolu (13) of the Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles fights for a rebound during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional game against the Wayne State Warriors at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 16, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (By David Welker/For the Courier and Press)

Members of the Findlay Oilers cheer prior to the beginning of the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional game against the Drury Panthers at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 16, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/ For the Courier)

Ian Carter (23) of the Drury Panthers signals to the bench during after scoring the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional game against the Findlay Oilers at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 16, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/ For the News-Leader)

Cameron Adams (24) of the Drury Panthers blocks a shot by Jake Heagen (31) of the Findlay Oilers during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional game at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 16, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/ For the News-Leader)

Aaron Robinson (24) is comforted by Josh Brown (5) of the Findlay Oilers after losing to the Drury Panthers in the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional game at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 16, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/ For the Courier)

Zyggy Riauka (15) of the UW-Parkside Rangers shoots the ball over a Huskies defender during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional game against the Michigan Tech Huskies at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 16, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/For the Kenosha News)

Kevin Senechalle (23) of the UW-Parkside Rangers shoots the ball over Ali Haidar (34) of the Michigan Tech Huskies during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional game at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 16, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/For the Kenosha News)

Day 2: Semifinals

Keiston Jones (23) of the Bellarmine Knights grabs a rebound during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional semifinal game against the Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 17, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/Special to the C-JSpecial to the C-J)

Keiston Jones (23) of the Bellarmine Knights reacts after being run over by Manny Ogunfolu (13) of the Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional semifinal game at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 17, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/Special to the C-J)

Southern Indiana’s Lawrence Thomas battles with Bellarmine’s Jelani Johnson for a loose ball during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional semifinal game at the O’Reilly Family Event Center in Springfield, Missouri, Sunday evening. (David Welker/For the Courier & Press)

Vance Hall (3) and Jelani Johnson (32) of the Bellarmine Knights celebrate after defeating the Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles in the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional semifinal game at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 17, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/Special to the C-J)

Southern Indiana’s Keith DeWitt covers his head with a towel while walking off the floor after losing to the Bellarmine Knights in the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional semifinal game at the O’Reilly Family Event Center in Springfield, Missouri, Sunday evening. (David Welker/For the Courier & Press)

Ali Haidar (34) of the Michigan Tech Huskies motivates his teammates prior to the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional semifinal game against the Drury Panthers at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 17, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/Michigan Tech Athletics)

Ian Carter (23) of the Drury Panthers shoots over a Husky defender during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional semifinal game against the Michigan Tech Huskies at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 17, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Kameron Bundy (3) of the Drury Panthers dunks the ball during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional semifinal game against the Michigan Tech Huskies at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 17, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Jordan Chartier (11) of the Michigan Tech Huskies shoots a three during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional semifinal game against the Drury Panthers at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 17, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/ Michigan Tech Athletics)

Day 3: Regional Championship

So, I have to stop and explain some things. In the two days prior the crowd at the “O” had seen some great basketball. Every game had some type of exciting element to it. The first game of the tournament was a nail biter as the Bellarmine Knights blew a 17 point lead on U-Indy only to end up winning due to free throws at the end. Ali Haidar of the Michigan Tech Huskies scored 24 points in the first half of the Huskies quarterfinal game against Wisconsin Parkside. Six of the Eight teams in this regional were ranked in the top 25 at one point, and the 8th seed came into the tournament ranked #22. After many close game, it all accumulated to this, the #1 seed, Drury Panthers, would take on the 2011 National Champions, and 2012 semifinalist, the #3 seed Bellarmine Knights for a spot in the Elite Eight. The championship game would bring a capacity crowd to the O’Reilly Family Event Center, and these two teams made it a game to remember. Both teams started off ice cold from the floor. Each team shot less than 40% from the floor in the first half, but Drury would lead the Knights 28-24. Bellarmine would take their first lead of the game, 50-46, after a 13-0 run with 6:50 left to play. But then, Drury’s Alex Hall got hot from three and would hit two 3s to put the Panthers back on top for the rest of the game. The Drury Panthers were going to their first D-II Elite Eight appearance in school history after the 67-61 victory. I try not to get caught up in the emotion when shooting something like this, but I couldn’t help feel proud of the Drury Panthers as the student section rushed the floor.

Ian Cater (23) of the Drury Panthers and Jelani Johnson (32) of the Bellarmine Knights jump for the ball to start off the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional championship game at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 19, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Fans raise their hands as Alex Hall (33) of the Drury Panthers shoots a three during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional championship game against the Bellarmine Knights at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 19, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury’s Head Coach Steve Hesser talks with his team during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional championship game against the Bellarmine Knights at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 19, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Bellarmine’s Vance Hall battles with Drury’s Brandon Lockhart for a loose ball during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional championship game against the Drury Panthers at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 19, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/Special to the C-J)

Bellarmine’s Keisten Jones leaps to lay up the ball during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional championship game against the Drury Panthers at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 19, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/Special to the C-J)

Fans fill the “O'” during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional championship game between the Bellarmine Knights and the Drury Panthers on March 19, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Members of the Bellarmine Knights celebrate after a teammate made a three during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional championship game against the Drury Panthers at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 19, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/Special to the C-J)

Alex Hall (33) of the Drury Panthers dunks the ball during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional championship game against the Bellarmine Knights at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 19, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Ian Carter (23) of the Drury Panthers pumps up the crowd during the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional championship game against the Bellarmine Knights at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 19, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury students prepare to rush the court after the Drury Panthers beat the Bellarmine Knights in the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional championship game at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 19, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

A Drury student jumps onto Ian Carter (23) after the Drury Panthers beat the Bellarmine Knights in the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional championship game at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 19, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Drury’s Cameron Adams celebrates with fans after defeating the Bellarmine Knights in the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional championship game at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 19, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

Members of the Drury Panthers hold up the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional championship trophy after defeating the Bellarmine Knights in the 2013 Division II Midwest Regional championship game at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on March 19, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)