SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Mount Vernon Nazarene took a late lead and seemed on the verge of an upset, but fourth-ranked Morningside (Iowa) came up with a couple of huge shots down the stretch to earn a 75-69 decision at the NAIA Division II Tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Friday night.
The 18th-ranked Cougars took a 40-39 halftime lead, and then put the defensive clamps on the Mustangs late in the second half. Morningside went scoreless for more than four minutes to help The Naz fight back from a six-point deficit to take a 61-60 lead at the 4:18 mark.
But Brody Egger's key trey pushed the Mustangs back on top and they eventually broke away from a 63-63 tie by hitting their free throws to earn the victory.
Jevon Knox drilled four triples and scored 18 points to pace the Cougars, while forward Brett Vipperman added 11 points.
Morningside's Tyler Borchers poured in a game-high 26 points. Egger and Zach Imig chipped in 13 apiece.
The Mustangs earned a 35-31 rebounding edge, and had just eight turnovers compared to 12 for Mount Vernon Nazarene. The difference came at the free throw line, where Morningside hit 17-of-22, while MVNU made just 9-of-14 attempts.
MVNU concluded its fine season with a 27-8 mark.