MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.-- The North Central Men's Basketball team was simply to much for Providence University-College on Friday night. The Rams played all 14 players a mininum of 9 minutes and got key contributions off the the bench to run away from the Freeman in a 90-53 victory in an NCCAA Division II Regional semi-final. The victory gives the Rams a spot in the region championship game on Saturday afternoon.
North Central (16-11) never struggled to score in the game but it took several minutes before the Rams were able to get a cushion against a determined but shorthanded Providence (Otterburne, Manitoba) team. With 10:51 left in the first half North Central led just 20-18 before back-to-back three point baskets from sophomore Luke Chafin (Dayton, Ohio/Troy Christian) and junior Matt Sheperd (Counsil Bluffs, Iowa/Homeschool) gave the Rams a 26-18 lead.
Providence would get to within 26-20 with 9:03 left in the first half before NCU closed the half on a 21-6 run to secure a 74-26 lead at the break. It would never get closer than 18 in the second half.
Coach Jon High chose to start working in his bench early in the game and the star of the night was reserve guard Matt Sheperd who banged home seven three pointers to post a career-high 21 points. Luke Chafin added 16 points.
Junior Jordan Harrell (Maple Grove, Minn./Maple Grove) recorded a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. Freshman Eric Decker (Makinaw, Ill./Peoria Christian) notched a career-high 10 points. Junior Chauncee Hollingsworth (St. Louis, Mo./Soldan International) posted a career-high 8 assists to keep pace with the 9 assists Providence posted as a team on the night.
The Rams played all 13 players and no player played more than 22 minutes in a complete team victory.
NCU will take on Trinity Bible College (Ellendale, N.D.) at 3 p.m. in the NCCAA region championship game on Saturday afternoon. Trinity is the defending region champion after defeating the Rams in the championship game last year. The Lions win broke a string of three straight region titles for NCU.