KANSAS CITY — Preston Wynne stepped up to deliver what can be described as the Vanguard University men's basketball team's biggest win in its history. He scored a career-high 42 points to lead the Lions past Saint Gregory, 108-88, to give Vanguard a chance at even a bigger win. The Lions will play for the NAIA Division I National Championship Tuesday at 5 p.m. PT against Emmanuel.
Wynne connected on 14 of his 19 shots (73.6%), and hit six of nine from three-point range.
"Tonight was a great team performance," Wynne said in a press release. "I think this was our best team shooting percentage game that we had all year. Well, at least it felt like it. It just feels great to know that whether we win or lose, my last game as a Lion will be in the championship game with my brothers. I have to say thank you to all of the faculty and the students for the support and for coming together to watch the game in The Pit. That was so big time."
Wynne, a senior guard, is averaging 28.3 points per game through four games at the national tournament. It's nine points above his season average.
Wynne also tied for a team-high with four assists, while grabbing four rebounds. The scoring effort was the most since a 43-point performance by PJ Meyers of Life (Ga.) in 2012.
"He's really special," Vanguard Coach Rhett Soliday said of Wynne. "He can really score in every way and with his range, he really makes it difficult for other teams to guard him. Our guys are probably the only ones who weren't surprised by some of the shots he made tonight."
As a team, Vanguard ended the game shooting 59.3% (35 of 59), including a tournament-high 14 three-pointers.
Joining Wynne in double-digits was Chris Gorman with 22 points and DeAngelo Jones with 17 points. The trio of Wynne, Gorman and Jones ended the game a combined 12 for 20 (60%) from three-point range.
The Lions, who boast the most wins ever for a Vanguard men's basketball team at 31-6, have won eight-straight games. They are the first team in the history of the program to advance past the second round of the tournament.
"Our guys are happy to be here, but I think they're also happy to be playing one more game together," Soliday said. "We're just going to let it rip and see what happens. We know there will be some uncharacteristic mistakes, kind of like there were tonight, but once the guys settle down, they'll adjust."
The Cavaliers went 24-10 on the year.
Tuesday's championship game will air nationally on ESPN3.
— From staff reports