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Monday, May 02, 2016
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Metro Sports Report

No. 14 Mustangs ousted by No. 1 Saint Francis

POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. - The Mount Mercy men's basketball team fell behind by 16 points in the first half Friday and lost to top-ranked Saint Francis of Indiana, 89-82, in the Sweet 16 of the NAIA Division II tournament.

Mount Mercy reached the Sweet 16 for the second straight year and finished the campaign at 26-8.

The Mustangs pulled within nine points in the second half, but Saint Francis surged back in front by 16 points with a little more than two minutes remaining to secure the victory. The Mustangs hit four 3-pointers in the final 90 seconds, but the seven-point final margin was as close as they got.

"We couldn't catch up," said Mount Mercy coach Aaron Jennings. "They're a good team. They came in with the No. 1 for a reason."

Saint Francis (30-4) will face Keiser (30-4) in the Elite 8 on Saturday.

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Wow! Saints top No. 1 Pella in thriller

DES MOINES - The amazing Xavier Saints have rewritten all the rules for making the state finals.

They lost six games in a row to end the regular season, suspended their top scorer for two games in the playoffs, built a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter against the No. 1 team in the state in the semifinals, got into severe foul trouble, saw the lead dwindle all the way to three points and still found a way to win.

"Wow!" was the first word out of Coach Ryan Luehrsmann's mouth at the post-game press conference Thursday night after the Saints reached the state finals for the first time in school history.

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Mahmens will retire as L-M athletic director

Scott Mahmens plans to retire as the athletic director at Linn-Mar High School at the end of the 2015-16 school year, he told the Metro Sports Report Thursday afternoon.

"Yes, I have made the decision to retire at the end of this school year," he said in an e-mail. "My last day on the job will be June 29.

"I have been in the education field for 32 years and just feel like it is time for me to make this difficult decision."

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Mount Mercy rallies to win NAIA opener in OT

The Mount Mercy men's basketball team lived dangerously at the NAIA Division II national tournament Wednesday morning but survived to play another day.

The 14th-ranked Mustangs rallied from a 15-point deficit and trimmed No. 17 Southern Oregon, 98-97, in the opening round at Keeter Gymnasium in Point Lookout, Mo.

Alex Houston scored on a tip-in with nine seconds left in overtime to give Mount Mercy the go-ahead points. Ben DeSaulnier missed a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game for Southern Oregon.

Mount Mercy (26-7) will face top-ranked Saint Francis (Ind.), which moved to 30-4  with a 96-81 win Wednesday over Dakota State, in the Sweet 16 Friday at 10:15 a.m.

The Mustangs fell behind by 15 points in the first half and trailed 58-47 at intermission against the Raiders, who reached the Elite 8 of the NAIA tournament last March.

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Burger helps Saints topple Spirit Lake

DES MOINES - Mitchell Burger plays basketball like he's Jimmy Cagney in one of those old tough-guy movies from the 1930's, where Cagney struts around with a big chip on his shoulder and proves to the world that he's just as good as anybody.

That was Burger in his unusual role of super-sub in the Class 3A state basketball tournament Tuesday night, strutting around Wells Fargo Arena and acting like he didn't have a care in the world.

Burger returned from a two-game suspension and poured in 25 points as the 10th-ranked Xavier Saints stumped No. 3 Spirit Lake, 58-47, in the quarterfinals to keep their season alive for two more games.

The Saints (17-8) will face top-ranked Pella (23-1) in the semifinals at 8:15 p.m. Thursday, and win or lose they'll play again on Saturday.

Burger did not start against Spirit Lake, but he picked up right where he left off three games ago and sparked the Saints to a 29-19 lead at intermission. And on the defensive end, the Saints threw a blanket over 6-foot-10 center Ryan Kriener and kept the future Iowa Hawkeye under wraps most of the night.

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Page 5 of 1294

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