Sixth-ranked UC Riverside put the squeeze on Morningside.
James King scored six points and Craig Marshall had five during a 19-3 run that carried the Highlanders to a 71-58 victory Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II basketball tournament.
"We tightened up on defense," King said of the spurt. "Coach (John Masi) told us at halftime we needed to tighten it up on defense. We went out and did it."
Riverside (25-5) will face top-ranked Indiana (Pa.), a 90-79 winner over Central Missouri, today.
Morningside shot only 39% (22 for 56) from the field and took a 40-25 beating on the boards as King pulled down 11 rebounds.
Morningside (24-8) rallied from a 32-26 deficit to 32-30 on Shalmus Curry's free throw with 2:13 remaining in the half.
Marshall started Riverside's run two seconds later by making two free throws. Tracy Lundy followed with a tip-in and Marshall made a three-point basket as Riverside led, 39-30, at the half.
Riverside, the West Region winner, continued its spurt in the second half as King scored six points, four coming on free throws, to push the margin to 51-33 with 13:33 to go.
"Obviously, the start of the second half was the difference," Masi said. "We defended very well. Their inability to shoot the three well (two for 15) helped us. It wasn't near their average (38%)."
King led Riverside with 20 points.