Globe Staff Writer
Ozark Christian committed only nine turnovers in knocking off sixth-seeded Valley Forge Christian 78-73 on Tuesday in the first round of the men’s NCCAA Division II Basketball Championships.
The Ambassadors will be idle — a banquet is set for 2 p.m. today — before challenging third-seeded North Central of Minneapolis at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
OCC, 30-8 and seeded 11th, is an at-large entry in the 12-team event at Central Bible College.
Said OCC coach Chris Lahm: “I’m very happy with the way we played. We had only one turnover and played nice defense in leading 37-24 at the half. I challenged our players. I said we would win if we had less than 14 turnovers in the game.
“Valley Forge actually took a three-point lead in the second half,” Lahm said. “We were able to fight through that. It was 60-60, we got up by four points and held on.”
Leaders for OCC included Cameron Woodring (22 points, seven assists), Kyle Wicklund (20 points, 10 rebounds), Adam Smith (16 points, nine boards) and Philip Donna (11 points).
Donna, who was 4-for-4, Wicklund, Woodring and Smith combined to hit 25 of 39 from the field. Woodring hit 8 of 9 from the foul line.
“Adam (Smith), who came off the bench, had a terrific game,” Lahm said. “Donna started for (Kendall) Wingert, because of a sore shoulder. Maybe Kendall can play on Thursday.”
Guard Donnell Davis paced the Patriots (16-12), from Schuylkill, Pa., with 25 points.