EVANSVILLE, Ind. — The Crimson Hawks erased a 10-point deficit midway through the second half and were nearly perfect from the foul line down the stretch in a 72-68 comeback win against Tarleton State in the semifinals of the 2015 NCAA Division II National Championships on Thursday night.
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IUP will now advance to the program’s second national championship game to play Florida Southern at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Down 49-39 with 10:04 left to play, the Crimson Hawks started chipping away. A three-pointer by Shawn Dyer served as the catalyst of a 12-0 run in the next 4:34 to put IUP on top 51-49 with 5:30 to play.
After a layup by Damion Clemens tied the game at 51-51 on Tarleton State’s next possession, the Crimson Hawks reeled off another seven consecutive points, including a layup and free throws by Daddy Ugbede and a three by Dyer.
The Texans (31-4) were able to cut it to five at 60-55 on a pair of foul shots by Mo Lee with 2:35 to play, but IUP quickly got its lead up to double-digits at 66-55 with under a minute left on six successful free throws by Dyer, Brandon Norfleet and Devante Chance.
Tarleton State tried to catch up, rushing down the court and drilling three-pointers on three consecutive possessions, but the Crimson Hawks continued their success at the line to close out the 72-68 semifinal win.