SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – What started more than five months ago with 138 schools is now narrowed down to just two; No.8 ranked Oregon Tech will face No. 7 Spring Arbor (Mich.) in NAIA today’s Championship Game at 4:00 pm (Pacific) at the 28th annual NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship at the Sanford Pentagon.
How the Two Teams Got Here
Oregon Tech and College of Idaho were tied seven times in the first seven-plus minutes in their semifinals matchup, knotted again at 28, when Oregon Tech closed the half with a 24-1 run, holding the Yotes without a field goal for the final 10 minutes in the first half to lead 52-29. Tech weathered several College of Idaho runs in the second half but prevailed 93-81. Seth Erickson scored a game-high 27 points, Kaison Faust came off the bench to score 19 and Mitchell Fink notched his second straight double-double with 14 points and 12 assists. Oregon Tech is playing in its fifth national title game, the first since 2012. The Owls are 3-1 with championships in 2004, 2008, and 2012, losing in 1998 to Bethal (Ind.). A win tonight would make OIT the first NAIA Division II school with four national titles.
Spring Arbor University is in the NAIA DII Men’s Basketball National Championship Finals for the first time in program history after defeating Marian (Ind.) 66-50 in its semifinal matchup. The Cougars are out of the Crossroads Conference and received an automatic bid as the Crossroads Regular Season Champion with a record of 29-7. They beat Indiana Tech in the first round 85-50, and took down the Jimmies of Jamestown (N.D.) 85-81 in round two. They then got past Indiana East 89-77 in quarterfinals. The Cougars are led by junior point guard Paul Marandet who is averaging 16 points and 6 assists per game while shooting the long ball at 42%. Also leading the way is Brandon Durnell, a 6-6 forward who averages 16-points and 6-boards a game.
Today’s matchup will be first ever meeting between Spring Arbor and OIT.
Tuesday’s title game will be broadcast locally on 92.5 KLAD-FM with Bobby Thompson and Mike Garrard on the call. The Justin Parnell Coaches Show will start at 3:30 pm with the opening tip to follow. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3.
“Watch Party” a live stream of the game will be available in the CU Auditorium and at various restaurants around town.
Full coverage from the national tournament will be available at www.oregontechowls.com