NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) — In NAIA Division I basketball championship games, Oklahoma Baptist University’s men’s team and Union University’s women’s team settled for runner-up finishes March 20.
OBU’s second-seeded men lost to fourth-seeded Concordia (Calif.) University 72-69 in the title game in Kansas City, Mo. The Bison had three chances to tie the game in the final seconds, but two missed three-point shots and one blocked shot ended OBU’s title hopes.
After OBU trailed by 10 with three minutes left, a Jacobi Isham basket with 36 seconds left pulled OBU to within one. Concordia’s Austin Simon hit two free throws to extend the lead to three, and the Bison couldn’t covert on their final possession.
The championship game appearance was the eighth for OBU, surpassing the NAIA mark of seven previously set by Oklahoma City.
“We set the bar for what OBU basketball is supposed to be, in terms of heart and character,” OBU coach Doug Tolin said. “I can only speak for the last 12 years, but this is the standard by which we measure what Bison basketball should and will be.”
OBU’s Emmanuel Wilson, who was named the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, led the Bison with 16 points in the title game.
In the women’s title game in Frankfort, Ky., Union fell to Oklahoma City 69-48 in the Lady Bulldogs’ fourth straight championship appearance. Union trailed by 10 at halftime and never got closer than nine in the second half.
“Our strength all year has been our heart, our character, our will and the fact we were a team,” Union coach Mark Campbell said. “We define success here as being humble, caring about one another, being unified, serving each other, being thankful and the desire to glorify God through this game. This has been a very successful year because hearts have been changed.”
Union’s Lavanda Ross was named the NAIA Division I Women’s Player of the Year. She led Union with 15 points in the title game.
The NAIA tournament was the last for Union, as the program moves into NCAA Division II beginning next year.
Compiled by Tim Ellsworth, editor of BPSports (www.bpsports.net).