Titans and Vikings advance to Friday’s quarterfinals

The Vikings' leading scorer Luke Pierce cuts through the defense for an and-one layup that gave his team an 11 point lead. Photo credit: Trey Wilkinson

On Wednesday night, the bottom four men’s teams battled for the right to play in Friday’s quarterfinals. The Vikings defeated the Wolverines, 96-78 and the Titans defeated the Hawks, 81-78.

Titans vs. Hawks

The Titans escaped with a three-point win after Adam Michaelis hit a 3-pointer with six seconds left in the game.

The Hawks started the game with a 12-5 run, and the Titans needed a timeout. Right after the timeout, the Titans scored five straight, and the first quarter ended with a narrow Hawks lead, 20-19. Michaelis hit a 3-pointer to close the gap right before the quarter ended.

The second quarter began with Titan Kolten Bevans getting a chase-down block, but the Hawks took an early six-point lead, 30-24.

The Titans inserted their second center, Tyson Dorman, and that substitution gave them an opportunity to come back.

The game tied 37-37 at halftime, with the Titans closing the second quarter on a 13-7 run.

The third quarter was back and forth, with multiple ties and lead changes. Hawks Kade Hall made a 3-pointer with 58 seconds remaining to give them a 57-56 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The back-and-forth game continued, with the Titans taking back the lead after Michaelis made two free throws to give them a 67-65 lead with 5:16 left.

The last five minutes belonged to Michaelis and Hawks Chandler Pincock. The two players went back and forth individually, scoring consecutive baskets for their respective teams. Both Michaelis and Pincock scored at least seven points in the last five minutes of the game.

However, it was ultimately Michaelis who sealed the game with a 3-pointer:

After the game, Michaelis broke down the play.

“The play didn’t work the way we wanted it to,” Michaelis said. “But (Justin Radford) saw the kick out and I hit the shot. I was lucky.”

Michaelis also talked about his and Pincock’s duel in the fourth quarter.

“He’s one of my best friends, and we go at it sometimes,” Michaelis said. “It’s fun to play with him.”

Titan coach, Jaden Padilla, discussed the key to defeating the Hawks.

“We were playing hard defense,” Padilla said. “We knew their main scores, and we feel like we locked them down.”

Padilla is confident heading into the quarterfinals to face the undefeated Hurricanes.

“We have a game plan,” Padilla said. “It’ll be a tough match because they are undefeated, but I feel like our team can do it.”

Michaelis is also confident heading into the quarterfinals.

“They’re a good team,” Michaelis said. “We’ve just got to play as a team. We’ve been doing it recently in our last couple games, so if we can keep that up I think any team’s beatable in this league.”

The Titans advance to face the Hurricanes in the quarterfinals.

Vikings vs. Wolverines

On BYU-Idaho Center court 8 at 8 p.m., the Vikings defeated the Wolverines by 18 points. This was the Vikings’ second win of the season, its second in the past five days, and its second against the Wolverines.

The Wolverines began the game in a 1-2-2 zone but quickly switched their defense to a man-to-man defense after the Vikings scored 10 points in the first few minutes.

The Wolverines clawed back to make it a 14-12 game, but the Vikings scored nine straight and led 23-14 after the first quarter.

Viking Hunter Rogers kept the Vikings’ run going into the second quarter by scoring five points in 45 seconds. But the Wolverines responded again with 10 straight points of their own, with Wolverines Ethan Nielsen hitting back-to-back 3-pointers.

The Vikings regained control and led going into halftime 45-33. The teams mostly traded baskets in the third quarter, and the Vikings kept their lead going into the fourth quarter — 69-61 Vikings.

The Wolverines cut the lead down to seven, but the Vikings scored seven straight points to put the game out of reach. The Vikings came away with a convincing victory, 96-78.

Kobe Garrick and Luke Pierce combined for 43 of the Vikings’ points, with 20 and 23, respectively.

“Basketball is the best game ever,” Garrick said. “I just love playing it. I got a few buckets in but seeing my teammates score was just beautiful.”

The Vikings will play the Wildcats on Friday. The Wildcats beat them earlier in the season by 43 points, 129-86. However, Garrick was unfazed and felt confident that Friday will be different.

“We only had two of our usual starters there, we had people gone,” Garrick said. “It was just tough rotations with subbing, and we played a zone that really killed us. We know what victory tastes like now. We’ll just come out with the same intensity and keep shooting.”

Games will continue on Friday, March 17 at 6 p.m. when the Spartans take on the Knights on court 4 and the Hurricanes take on the Titans on court 4.

Find the playoff bracket by visiting Campus Recreation.