By Drake Vittitow and Victoria Lybarger

Staff reporters

Southwestern faced off against Ave Maria in the first round of the NAIA National Tournament on Thursday, defeating the Gyrenes 89-80. The win moves the Moundbuilders to the Sweet 16, where they will face Marian University.

Cameron Hunt, senior guard, led all scorers with 32 points. Simpson Anderson, senior guard, was the only other scorer in double-digits, with 21. Brent Smith, senior center, led all rebounder with ten boards. Hunt also led in assists, with three dishes. Southwestern also led in bench scoring, points in the paint, points off turnovers, and fast break points.

Marian University enters the tournament with a record of 25-7 (13-5 Crossroads Conference). They defeated Madonna University in the first round to advance to the Sweet 16. The campus is located in Indianapolis, Indiana and their mascot is a knight.

The two teams face off on Friday at 5:45 p.m.

The second seeded Moundbuilders will face the seventh seeded Ave Maria University on Thursday in the first round of the national tournament. The game is on Thursday at 12 p.m. and will be played in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

Southwestern enters the tournament with a record of 27-4 (20-4 in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference) and a national ranking of six. Ave Maria University enters the tournament with a record of 23-8 (13-5 in the Sun Conference) and is currently unranked. 

Ave Maria University is located in Ave Maria, Florida. The university’s mascot is the Gyrene, which is a word associated with the Marines, but instead of a Marine, the school uses a Bulldog as its official mascot. 

The winner of the first round will play on Friday at 5:45 p.m. between the winner of Marian University (25-7) and Madonna University (23-9).

Drake is a freshman majoring in communications. You may email him at jefferson.vittitow@sckans.edu.