02/21/2013 – The men's basketball team concluded their season with a tough loss in the quarterfinal round of the WHAC Tournament. The Panthers of Davenport advanced to the WHAC semifinals with a 62-57 win at home over the Saints. Davenport improved to 26-5 on the season, while Aquinas closes the 2012-13 campaign with an overall record of 12-19. The Panthers will now host #4 seed Cornerstone on Saturday.
The Saints, who defeated the Panthers earlier in the season on Davenport's home court, knew anything was possible come tournament time. As far as Coach Hammer's team was concerned it was not #1 vs. #8 -- it was Aquinas versus Davenport plain and simple. Playing for their season the Saints did not disappoint and battled the eighth ranked team in the land right down to the final buzzer.
Davenport, who already had reserved a spot in the upcoming NAIA Tournament, came out firing on all cylinders. The Panthers converted 61% of the field goals in the first half. The early storm was weathered by the Saints as they kept the game close with an efficient offense that committed only three turnovers. Austin Semple paced all scorers in the first half with ten as Davenport went to the locker room with a 37-31 lead. The first twenty minutes saw five ties and five lead changes as neither team could mount any substantial run.
The Saints continued to keep the pressure on the home team as the Saints opened the second half with a trio of three point makes. A Zach Eddy basket at the 12:07 mark gave the Saints a 46-44 lead and thinking upset. The next two and a half minutes would prove decisive as the Panthers would surge ahead (54-46) on the heels of a 10-0 run. The Saints found themselves running out of time as Davenport extended the lead to ten with 7:24 to play.
Coach Hammer called a thirty second time out to rally the troops for one final stand. The squad responded and held the Panthers scoreless over the next six-plus minutes. A pair of three's by Austin Semple and Brett Pfahler brought the Saints to within four at 59-55 with less than a minute to play. The comeback attempt and upset bid was thwarted as the Panthers would narrowly escape with a 62-57 victory.
Austin Semple led the Saints with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Brett Pfahler chipped in with 14 points and four assists, while Zach Eddy concluded his Aquinas career with a nine point and eight rebound night.