MARION, Ind. – The Indiana University South Bend men’s basketball team saw its unforgettable season come to an end in the 2020-21 NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship Second Round, as the Titans fell 76-59 in the Marion Bracket B championship game to the No. 1 overall seed and host school Indiana Wesleyan University Saturday night, March 13.
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IU South Bend, the second seed in the pod, concludes its remarkable season with a 7-1 record and snaps its 15-game winning streak that dates back to Feb. 5, 2020. One of three Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference teams in this year’s tournament, IUSB was the only school to compete in the second round Saturday as Holy Cross and Olivet Nazarene fell in the opening round.
Junior Kenny Washington and senior Sergio Diaz led the Titan offensive with 17 apiece in their final game this season donning the Crimson and Cream. Washington’s 17 was a career-high that went 7-for-10 from the floor to go along with two rebounds. Diaz went 4-for-11 from the floor, 3-of-7 from three and a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe.
Junior standout Donyell Meredith II was the final IUSB player in double figures with 11 to go along with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Sophomore guard Micah Poole grabbed six rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal before fouling out.
Seniors Norell Smith and Dylan Allen both added eight against the best in the country.
Despite the loss, IU South Bend concluded the season at 7-1 overall. The Titans, which were the No. 15 seed in the conference tournament and were tabbed as the two-seed in the Marion Bracket B, entered the postseason with a 6-0 overall record and persevered through numerous obstacles this season to earn their second national tournament trip.
IUSB was forced to shut down due to COVID-19 concerns from late November to early February after winning two games back on Nov. 24 & 29. The Titans were allowed to begin practicing again on Feb. 9 which allowed them to start competition on the first day of the CCAC Tournament Championship.
IU South Bend punched its second-straight ticket to the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship via the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference automatic bid with a 76-75 thrilling victory in the league’s title game at top-seeded Olivet Nazarene, March 1.
Head coach Scott Cooper and the rest of the Titans look to come back next year during the 2021-22 season to make a statement not only in the CCAC but in the country.