Mar 16, 2023

Still dancing: Keeley's OUAZ squad into NAIA Fab Four

Posted Mar 16, 2023 12:04 AM

Great Bend-native Matt Keeley's run continues in the NAIA National Basketball Tournament in Kansas City. His Ottawa University Arizona (OUAZ) Spirit won their first three games in the bracket by a combined 21 points, including an overtime buzzer-beater in round one. Wednesday, the Spirit knocked off 10th-ranked Montana Tech 76-58 to advance to Friday's national semifinal game against top-ranked College of Idaho.

OUAZ is now the lowest-remaining seeded team in the tournament as the No. 7 seed that opened national tournament action in Park City. The Spirit have knocked off two top-10 nationally ranked teams, including Wednesday's dominant win against a Montana Tech team that beat the only No. 1 seed to be knocked out of the tournament.

In Wednesday's action at Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium, the Spirit trailed by six points in the first half before turning that deficit into a one-point lead by halftime. OUAZ kept a healthy lead before pulling away late for the 18-point win.

The College of Idaho enters Friday's semifinal game after losing their first game of the season before rattling off 34-consecutive wins. The Coyotes bumped No. 6 seed Tougaloo 83-66 in their semifinal contest. Friday's tip with OUAZ is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Keeley is the first and only coach in OUAZ's brief history. The former two-time All-American at Mid-America Nazarene in Olathe has led the Spirit to back-to-back national tournaments.

Former Barton County Cougar Cam Brooks-Harris will play for Georgetown College in the other half of the Fab Four bracket.