3.15.17: Cornerstone gets beat by Union College
(M-Live)–Cornerstone struggled for a few minutes in the second half, and that was all it took for No. 1-seeded Union of Kentucky to take advantage Tuesday in the NAIA Division II championship.
An 11-2 run over a five minute period starting six minutes into the second half was enough to propel the Bulldogs past No. 2 Cornerstone, 72-69, in Point Lookout, Missouri.
“We had a tough stretch in there where our shots didn’t fall, we had some turnovers and just couldn’t get stops during that time and we couldn’t come back from that,” said Cornerstone coach Kim Elders.
The Golden Eagles, who finish 33-4, were down by a point, 36-35, at halftime and were briefly ahead twice early in the second half on baskets by Kyle Steigenga.
But after Michael McLaughlin’s basket at 14:39 made it 45-45, the Golden Eagles got only a pair of free throws over the next 5:37 as the Bulldogs pulled ahead 59-47.
Cornerstone didn’t get another field goal until Cory Cox’s jumper at the 8:04 mark that made it 61-52.
“They did everything we expected,” Elders said. “They’re a high-pressure defense, and strong offensive rebounding and athletic. We knew all that was going to be there. We just didn’t handle it as good as we needed to.”
Cornerstone shot 41.2 percent, including 26.3 percent beyond the arc.
Steigenga had 30 points on 10 of 17 from the field along with 10 rebounds. Michael McLaughlin had 16 points.
It marked the first time Cornerstone had lost in the finals. The program was 3-0 previously, with the last time coming in 2015..
“We have to look at the big picture, and we had a great season,” Elders said as the team prepared to go to a post-game reception. “I told the guys to hold up their heads. They’ve got so much to be proud of.”