Mount St. Joseph men's basketball draws Hope College (Mich.) in NCAA first round

Mount St. Joseph men's basketball draws Hope College (Mich.) in NCAA first round

The Mount St. Joseph men's basketball team (18-9) will take on at-large team Hope College (23-3) in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship.

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The game will be played at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill. on Friday at 5:30 p.m. It's the first trip to the tournament for the Lions, who won the HCAC tournament championship Sunday afternoon with a thrilling 12-point comeback with just over three minutes to play to force overtime before winning in overtime against Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Hope College, located in Holland, Mich., finished as the regular season champions of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association before being upset in the semifinal by Trine College 82-77.

Hope is led by guard Ben Gardner who averages 15 points-per-game. The team averages 79 points per game while their opponents average just 68. The 11 point scoring margin is ranked 23 in the country. They are ranked 27th in the country in free throws made.

The Lions and the Flying Dutchman had two common opponents. Hanover, the only HCAC team to play Hope this season, lost 85-81 in overtime on the road. Hope defeated Albion College at home 68-65 while MSJ lost 70-66 to Albion early in the season.

If the Lions defeat Hope they will take on either host Augustana (24-1) or their opponent Westminster (Mo.). Augustana is ranked No. 1 in the country in the D3Hoops.com national top 25 poll.

IF YOU GO
What: Mount St. Joseph vs. Hope College (Mich.)
When: Friday, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Roy JCarver Center for Physical Education, 639 38th Street, Rock Island, IL 61201 
Admission: Ticket prices both nights will be $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for students.