Flagler wins slugfest to advance to Division II basketball Final Four

Flagler College's Jaizec Lottie was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II All-American Team on Tuesday morning. (Flagler College Athletics, Flagler College)

The beat goes on for the Flagler College men’s basketball team.

Next stop: the NCAA Division II Final Four.

The Saints got a pair of free throws from the unlikeliest player on the team, and then denied a last-second shot attempt to beat Truman State 70-69 in the Division II national quarterfinals on Wednesday night.

Third-seeded Flagler (18-2) will face second-seeded Northwest Missouri State (26-2) in the Final Four on Thursday at 9:45 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network.

The Saints have never been this deep in the postseason.

Jaizec Lottie had 29 points for Flagler, Derrick Ellis had 17 and Chris Metzger had 10, none bigger than his final two.

Metzger, last on the team among regular players in free throw shooting at just 38.7%, hit both of his free throws with 10 seconds to play to inch the Saints in front. Truman State’s final shot was a heavily contested look by Turner Scott that never had a chance. Its next shot came after the buzzer and the Saints were already celebrating a come-from-behind win.

Flagler trailed by as many as 11 in the second half but caught back up midway through the second and then spent the rest of the game going back and forth.

Cade McKnight knocked down a 3-pointer to put the Bulldogs (20-3) up 66-63 with 3:18 to go, but Marcus Henderson tied things on a Flagler 50 seconds later. McKnight had a chance to put Truman up down the stretch but missed the front end of a 1 and 1 with 33 seconds to go. Metzger was fouled as he cut to the basket looking to lay it in with 10 seconds to go and sank both to send the Saints on.

It was a testament in perseverance for Flagler. The Saints didn’t shoot the 3 well (6 of 22) and were crushed in the paint, outrebounded by a 50-29 total. But they’re playing on and enter Thursday’s national semifinal on a 16-game winning streak.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.