Eagles can’t hold on
Willie Irick scored 17 points to help Oklahoma City overcome an early Concordia lead Tuesday night and defeat the Eagles, 79-71, in the championship game of the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics tournament in Kansas City, Mo.
It’s the fifth small-college championship since 1991 for the Stars (35-2), who were beaten on a last-second three-point basket in last season’s title game but came back with 10 new players.
Concordia (31-7), the 2003 NAIA champion, may have been a step slow after its quadruple-overtime 124-119 victory over top-seeded Robert Morris in Monday night’s semifinals, the highest-scoring and second-longest game in the tournament’s 70-year history.
The Eagles made six of their first seven three-point baskets and took an early eight-point lead on Terrence Worthy’s long-range shot. But they missed their next 18 from beyond the arc and finished six for 25.
The closest Concordia came in the second half was 49-47, when Josh Kremer banked home a shot with 14:04 to go.
Then Irick connected and Nick Covington followed with a three-point basket and Oklahoma City began pulling away as Concordia kept missing from the outside.
Levi Luster had 23 points for the Eagles. Kremer, who struggled inside against 6-foot-10 B.J. Walker, had 11 points.
Louisiana State center Glen Davis said he will skip his senior season of eligibility to make himself available for the NBA draft.
The 6-foot-9, 290-pound junior averaged 17.7 points and 10.4 rebounds this season, missing several games because of a strained quadriceps. He is the only LSU player other than Shaquille O’Neal with career totals surpassing 1,500 points, 900 rebounds and 100 blocks.
Kansas assistant Tim Jankovich was hired as coach of Illinois State, taking over a team that hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament in a decade. Jankovich replaces Porter Moser, who was fired March 5 after his teams went 51-67 in four seasons.
Freshman forward Ben Eaves is leaving Connecticut and plans to transfer to another school.