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Providence men, women stumble to end national tournament opening round

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Posted at 9:06 PM, Mar 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-14 00:22:47-05

OMAHA, N.E. — Despite a career night for the University of Providence's Parker Esary, the Argo women couldn't come back from a slow start and fell to the Dakota State Trojans, and the Providence men's NAIA national tournament hopes slipped through their grasp as they fell to the Bethel University Pilots.

Dakota State women 77, University of Providence 66 (NAIA national tournament)

An extremely slow start plagued the University of Providence women as their season came to a close Saturday at the hands of the Dakota State Trojans, 77-66.

The Providence women scored just 24 first-half points to Dakota State's 42, and shot just 20% from 3-point range all game. The Trojans, however, capitalized on their free throw opportunities, scoring 16 points on penalties.

Parker Esary had a career night for the Argos with 32 points, going 6 for 6 from the free throw line, and nine rebounds, but the Trojans countered with Jessica Giles.

Giles had a game-high 38 points, shooting 80% from beyond the arc. She added five rebounds.

The Argos chipped away at the Trojans' 18-point lead in the third quarter, narrowing it to just 10 points with one frame left to play. Providence was able to cut the lead to single digits, but the Trojans were able to squash the Argos' effort and pull away slightly en route to the victory.

With the loss, the Argos will end their season with a 10-6 record.

Bethel University men 85, University of Providence 81 (NAIA national tournament)

Depsite maintaining a lead for most of the second half, the University of Providence men faltered late in their matchup with the Bethel University Pilots by a score of 85-81 to end their season.

Through the first half, the Argos held a slim three-point lead at 37-34, but the Pilot showed some life to open the second, going on a 9-4 run in the early minutes of the second half. The Argos were able to piece their offense back together and bring the game back in their favor through nearly the entirety of the second half.

With a little over two minutes left, the Pilots surged ahead and took a two-point lead at 79-77, a lead they wouldn't give back.

The Argos found themselves in foul trouble early and often in the matchup, giving the Pilots 25 chances at the free throw line. Bethel sank 20 of its shots from the charity stripe.

TreVion Crews was lights out for the Pilots, scoring 39 points with four rebounds and five assists.

Davien Harris-Williams put up 23 points for the Argos, while Zaccheus Darko-Kelly and Marcus Stephens added 18 each to their Argos' total.

With the loss, the Frontier Conference champion Argos' season comes to a close with a record of 17-3.