Entering the WHAC semifinals, the Madonna Crusaders and the No. 5 Golden Eagles were in for another barn burner at Mol Arena. The two teams met twice during the regular season as Cornerstone took a pair of victories. Today, despite trailing by 16 points in the first half, Cornerstone mounted a big comeback in the second half taking the 90-76 victory and advancing to the conference championship. The Crusaders finish their season with an overall 20-12 record while the Golden Eagles improve to 28-4. The WHAC Championship will take place at Cornerstone where the Golden Eagles will welcome No. 9 Davenport University.
The Crusaders started shooting lights out in the first taking the six-point lead with 11:07 on the clock. From then on Madonna controlled most of the momentum the remainder of the half. Cornerstone pulled within three but the Crusaders went on a 15-2 run grabbing their largest lead of the game (16 points). The Golden Eagles would slowly chip away at the lead pulling within nine, 37-48, heading into the locker room.
During the first, Cornerstone shot 46.4% from the field compared to Madonna's 57.1 percent. The Crusaders first half of play was highlighted by going 7-for-11 from behind the arc as a team. Cornerstone was led by Jake Plite's 13 points while Madonna's Travis Schuba added 12.
Cornerstone would have to mount a comeback in the second in order to advance to the WHAC Championship game. In the first five minutes, the Golden Eagles were able to tie the game led by a 14-5 run. The two teams would go back-and-forth throughout the next eight minutes until Cornerstone took the lead off a pair of free throws made by Wes Hudson. The Golden Eagles would never look back grabbing a 12-point lead with 4:29 remaining rolling to the 90-76 WHAC semifinal victory.
During the day, the Crusaders shot 47.4% compared to the Golden Eagles shooting at a 48.1 percent rate. Hudson led all scorers with 26 points while Ben Lanning added 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Cornerstone outrebounded their opponents, 34-30, during the day. As a team, CU dished out 17 assists highlighted by a career-high 11 assists for Anthony Allen.
The Golden Eagles advance to the WHAC Championship game on Monday night. The game will take place at Cornerstone where they will host No. 9 Davenport University. The two teams split a pair of contests in the regular season. The championship will be a showdown set for 7:30 p.m.