KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Concordia University men's basketball team had the look of a runner-up in the early moments of the NAIA Division I national championship game Tuesday.
But the No. 4-seeded Eagles wouldn't let a slow and ugly start get to them. They responded and beat No. 2 Oklahoma Baptist, 72-69, to win their second national title.
Oklahoma Baptist (32-5) appeared on its way to winning its third national title with a 16-1 lead in the first half. But Concordia (31-7) got back in it with strong defense and led, 33-31, at halftime.
Tommy Granado finished with 16 points to lead the Lions. Cameron Gliddon was named tournament MVP and finished with 11 points before fouling out with 4:17 left. He scored 92 points in the tournament, averaging 18.4 points per game. Granado made the all-tournament team, as did Austin Simon, who scored 13 points. Donnell Phifer had 14 points and Dakota Downs, who received the Charles Stevenson Hustle Award, added nine points.
"They were a great team, and they showed how good they were jumping out on us early," said Concordia Coach Ken Ammann, who was named Rawlings-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coach of the Year. "We showed how much heart we have by coming back. I am so proud of our guys. What a great group of guys to be around, and it was so much fun all year."
The Eagles made their fourth appearance in the national title game. They last won the title in 2003.
— From staff reports