LOUISVILLE -- The Kentucky Wesleyan men's basketball team wanted to be the bully, harrassing Quincy University point guard Herm Senor II from baseline to baseline in hopes of making life genuinely uncomfortable.
"That defense can scare you," Senor said.
But it can't beat you if you refuse to cower to it.
The Hawks stood tall Saturday night and chased the bully away.
Senor hit a clutch 3-pointer with 1 minute, 12 seconds remaining, made three free throws in the final 19 seconds and guided Quincy into the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament with a 78-75 victory in the quarterfinals of the Midwest Regional at Bellarmine University's Knights Hall.
"We've seen this all year. We've seen that all year," Senor said. "At times, we got a little rattled. For the most part, we stayed under control. We handle the pressure and got a couple of easy buckets when we needed them. That was big for us."
It means an historic season is not over.
After tying the 1981-82 team for the second-most victories in school history, the Hawks (25-6) advance to face top-seeded Bellarmine at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the region semifinals. The winner will play Tuesday for a region championship and berth in the Elite Eight in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The Knights (29-3) beat the Hawks 103-96 in overtime at Pepsi Arena in January. They have won the last five meetings between the Great Lakes Valley Conference foes at Knights Hall.
"The biggest thing right now is getting our bodies ready to go," QU senior guard Von Washington III said. "It's going to take another stellar effort from us. We can't come out and expect them to be tired. They're playing at home. They'll have a lot of energy, and the crowd will obviously be behind them.
"We have to know (Sunday) is going to be another tough game and make sure we're ready to go."
It took a few minutes for the Hawks to reach that point against the Panthers.
Quincy turned the ball over on four of its first six possessions. It didn't make a field goal until Joe Tagarelli scored from the block with 15:45 remaining in the first half, and it didn't grab the lead until Washington's 3-pointer put the Hawks ahead 6-5 with 14:43 to go.
"I wouldn't say ‘efficient' is a good word for how we played," QU coach Marty Bell said. "I would say tough and gritty are definitely two words you would use to describe the effort."
It certainly describes the defense.
Kentucky Wesleyan, which had won 26 consecutive games and was averaging 92 points per game, went eight minutes between field goals and fell behind 21-5 after Quincy went on an 18-0 run. The Panthers (28-3) had seven turnovers and seven missed shots during that stretch. They finished with 18 turnovers.
"We just didn't play well," Kentucky Wesleyan coach Happy Osborne said. "I can't put my finger on necessarily why. As you go down the road, composure is something. We just didn't show a great amount of composure."
Even so, the Panthers didn't let QU run away. They whittled a 16-point deficit down to eight in just four minutes and went to halftime trailing 33-23 despite shooting 37.5 percent from the field and committing 10 turnovers.
The Panthers cut the deficit to five points midway through the second half, but they didn't make it a one-possession game until the final minute.
"We just waited too long," Osborne said. "That's on us. We just flat waited too long."
Quincy made enough plays to stem the tide each time.
After Kentucky Wesleyan pulled within 50-45, Evan McGaughey and Washington made consecutive 3-pointers to push the lead back to 11. When the Panthers got within four, Senor drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing with one second left on the shot clock to make it a three-possession game.
Kentucky Wesleyan's Ken-Jah Bosley, his team's leading scorer, had seven points through 39 minutes but made three consecutive 3-pointers in the final minute. However, Quincy got a dunk from Washington off a turnover and three free throws from Senor to seal it.
"Kentucky Wesleyan would just not go away," Bell said. "But neither would our goals."
It's where the Hawks' toughness showed.
"Those games that are like that really take a toll on you," Bell said. "I thought we did a good job of weathering that contact and that first wave. We had to play very well at the right times to come away with a win."
NCAA Division II Midwest Region
Quincy 78, Kentucky Wesleyan 75
fg-fga ft-fta reb pf pts
Tagarelli 7-16 4-10 8 4 18
Senor II 4-6 7-9 4 3 17
Washington III 5-10 0-1 2 3 12
Meyer 3-5 1-2 3 2 10
McGaughey 1-4 0-0 6 4 3
Hinton 4-7 10-13 4 4 18
Frasco 0-1 0-0 0 4 0
Hoover 0-0 0-2 2 1 0
Patterson 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Totals 24-49 22-37 30 25 78
KENTUCKY WESLEYAN (28-3)
fg-fga ft-fta reb pf pts
Jacks 6-13 5-10 10 5 17
Bosley 5-16 3-4 4 2 16
Foster 2-9 2-4 4 5 6
Harris 3-5 0-0 5 3 6
Vigilance 3-6 0-0 3 1 6
Hatton 3-5 4-5 4 2 12
Stanford 4-5 2-5 5 3 10
Derksen 1-1 0-0 3 4 2
Lindsey 0-0 0-0 1 2 0?Team 5
Totals 27-60 16-28 44 27 75
Halftime score -- Quincy 33, Kentucky Wesleyan 23. 3-point field goals -- Quincy 8-18 (Senor II 2-3, Washington III 2-6, Meyer 3-5, McGaughey 1-1, Hinton 0-2, Frasco 0-1), Kentucky Wesleyan 5-12 (Bosley 3-7, Foster 0-2, Hatton 2-3). Assists -- Quincy 14 (Senor II 9), Kentucky Wesleyan 11 (Foster 5). Steals -- Quincy 8 (Tagarelli 4), Kentucky Wesleyan 9 (Bosley 2, Stanford 2, Derksen 2). Turnovers -- Quincy 16, Kentucky Wesleayn 18. Officials -- Jeff Spedoske, Kevin Driver, Scott Gooden. A -- 722.