GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – No. 2 Cornerstone claimed its tenth Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament title in program history with a 65-51 win over rival Aquinas on Wednesday night. The win lifts the No. 2 ranked Golden Eagles to 30-3 on the season as they will now head to the NAIA DII National Tournament in Point Lookout, Mo. from March 8-14. The bracket will be released on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and it will be streamed live on naianetwork.com.
Aquinas opened the game on a 7-0 run as Cornerstone failed to record a point until the 14:17 mark when Sam Vander Sluis hit a short jumper in the lane. A Cory Cox three-pointer just a minute later seemed to light a spark but the offense for CU was ice cold as they registered only seven points in the first 13:55 of the contest on 3-20 shooting. Their defense kept them in the game and as the shots started to fall, the momentum built as the final minutes of the half went on. An 8-0 run late helped CU take their first lead and they extended it to 29-24 at the break.
After the Saints pulled within three on the first possession of the second half, CU exploded with an 8-2 run finished off by a fade-away three-pointer from Kyle Steigenga to put them up 37-28. After a bucket from AQ cut the lead back to seven, Cory Cox caught fire from the field and led a 16-4 run in which he recorded 12 of the points, including a pair of triples forcing AQ into a timeout. The 19-point lead was the biggest of the game but the Saints responded behind the play of Jake Bullock as they cut the margin to just eight (58-50) with 5:23 to play. A huge triple from Michael Bradshaw on the next possession was followed by the seventh 3-pointer of the night from Cory Cox as CU would go on to post the 65-51 win.