The Virginia Union offense was ground to a halt in the second half as they fell in defeat to Indiana (PA) 60-45 in the Atlantic Regional Semifinal of the NCAA DII Tournament.
VUU lead the way in the first half until Jaylen Stewart’s three-pointer pulled the Crimson Hawks even with Panthers at 22 with 4:29 to go in the opening twenty minutes. Stewart’s jumper 47 seconds later gave IUP its first lead of the game 24-22 at the 3:29 mark. The Crimson Hawks would stretch their advantage to as much as 7 before ultimately taking a three-point lead at 30-27 into halftime.
Virginia Union was able to draw within a single point on two occasions early in the second half at 30-29 and 33-32, they would be unable to reclaim the lead. IUP is the no.1 ranked defensive team in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) and they were able to turn up the screws on VUU, holding the Panthers to 21.2% (7-33) and allowing just 18 points in the second half. With their offense stymied, the Panthers were unable to keep pace with the Crimson Hawks, falling behind by as much as 20 points during a 13-minute stretch in which they missed 21 consecutive field goal attempts.
The Panthers shot 25% (17-68) and just 23.5% (4-17) from downtown, with VUU starters shooting 11-53, 20.7%, for the game. Tahj Harding led the Panthers as the lone VUU scorer in double figures with 12 points.