You'd have to say the odds were against Point Loma Nazarene College going into Saturday night's National Christian College Athletic Assn. championship game against Tennessee Temple University at Chattanooga.
Tennessee Temple, after all, was the tournament's top-ranked team, and had a 17-game winning streak. The game also was being played at home, where Tennessee Temple hadn't lost in 14 straight games.
Point Loma center Deon Richard scored 23 points--making 10 of 15 shots from the field--and had 11 rebounds to lead the Crusaders to a 74-69 win over TTU. Point Loma Nazarene, which shot 66% from the floor (27-41) also received 13 points apiece from the Steve Bruce and Dave Davis, who came off the bench to spark the Crusaders.
Tennessee Temple gained an 8-0 at the outset. Point Loma didn't score until Bruce hit a 10-foot jumper with 15:10 to play in the first half to make it 8-2.
But with 4:58 remaining in the half, Davis stole the ball and scored on a layup, giving Point Loma a 25-24 advantage. And by the time the half had ended, the Crusaders had outscored Tennessee Temple, 14-7, to take a 42-31 halftime lead. Davis scored six of his points during the spurt.
Point Loma's edge swelled to 49-32 with 18:00 left in the game, but Tennessee Temple rallied. Tim Porter hit four straight 20-foot jumpers, leading a surge which brought Tennessee Temple to within one, 58-57, with five minutes to play.
A jump shot by Greg Kimbrell and Bruce's three-point play enabled Point Loma to regain control of the game, and Tennessee Temple could get no closer.
Porter led TTU with 20 points. Reggie Clark added 16 for Tennessee Temple, 28-3. The Crusaders are 28-8.