Men’s Hoops Claims Second Consecutive CCAC Tournament Championship in Thrilling Fashion
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – The No. 15 seed Indiana University South Bend men’s basketball team claimed its second consecutive Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship Monday night, March 1, with a thrilling 76-75 buzzer-beating victory at top-seeded Olivet Nazarene. The Titans rallied from four down with 24 seconds remaining in regulation to defeat the Tigers for the second straight season in thrilling fashion.
Prior to the conference tournament, IU South Bend had only appeared in two games having defeated Trinity Christian and 2021 NAIA National Tournament team Bellevue. With tonight’s victory, the Titans improved to 6-0 overall while the CCAC Regular Season Champion Olivet Nazarene falls to 15-4 overall.
With just 13 ticks left in regulation, Miles Tracy grabbed his lone offensive rebound of the game when it counted. Tracy muscled his way back up for the put-back to make it a 75-73 game. On the ensuing Tiger possession, the Titans were forced to foul as CJ Smith missed the front end of the one-and-one.
In IU South Bend’s final possession with eight seconds remaining, senior guard Dylan Allen tossed the ball to senior counterpart Sergio Diaz who sank the game-winning three-pointer as the Titans claimed its second conference title in program history.
Allen led the Titan offensive, dropping 22 points off 8-of-16 shooting while junior guard Donyell Meredith II followed behind with 16 points and team-highs seven rebounds and six assists. Sophomore Micah Poole and Tracy also finished in double figures, scoring 13 and 12 respectively.
The Tigers started the game on a 8-0 run and converted on its first three three-pointers of the game. IUSB battled back to even the score at 40-40 heading into the break. The Tigers led by as many as seven in the second period, jumping out to a 69-62 advantage with 4:18 remaining.
The Titans refused to let up, pulling within two, 69-67, of the Tigers at the 3:17 mark before ONU went on another run of 8-2 in a little over a two-minute span before the unbelievable IUSB comeback occurred.
The Titans finished the game shooting 46.2 percent (30-of-65) from the floor, 32.3 (10-of-31) from three-point land and 85.7 (6-of-7) on free throws. IUSB forced 14 turnovers on three steals and outscored ONU in bench points 19-5.
The Tigers shot 59.6 percent (31-of-52) from the field, 40 percent (6-of-15) on three-points and 63.6 percent (7-of-11) from the charity stripe. Olivet Nazarene held a commanding 50-38 advantage over IU South Bend for points in the paint on Monday night.
IUSB will learn its NAIA DI Tournament fate Thursday, March 4 in the selection show.