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Early Wake-up Call

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March 15, 2011
Gary Pine

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The alarm clock rings early for Azusa Pacific which opens the 74th Annual NAIA Men’s Basketball Division I Championship Tournament on Wednesday (March 16) with a first-round game against Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn.) at 10:45 a.m. (CDT, 8:45 a.m. in California).

The Cougars are making their 16th consecutive tournament appearance and are looking to go 1 second further than they did a year ago, when they fell to Oklahoma Baptist University in last year’s championship game when Marshall Johnson’s game-winning shot was waved off after officials reviewed television replays.

Azusa Pacific is seeded No. 8 in this year’s 32-team field of what is called “the most difficult tournament to win” because it requires the eventual national champion to win 5 games in less than a week.

The Cougars are meeting Freed-Hardeman for the first-time ever on the hardwood, and should Azusa Pacific escape its first-round contest with the Lion, it is likely to face a rematch with Oklahoma Baptist in a Friday (March 18) second-round game at 9 a.m. (CDT).

Click on the links above to follow Azusa Pacific’s first-round game with Freed-Hardeman.