Oregon Tech Eliminates Men’s Basketball in NAIA Quarterfinals
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – No. 8 Oregon Tech exploded for 60 second half points to end No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan University men’s basketball season with a 107-93 loss in the NAIA DII National Championship Quarterfinals. It is the first time since 2015 that the Wildcats failed to advance to the national semifinals.
Mitchell Fink hit a 3-pointer at the first half buzzer to give the Owls a 47-44 lead at the break. OIT followed with six points in the first minute of the second half to give them nine points in one minute to lead 53-44. Indiana Wesleyan could get no closer than nine points the rest of the afternoon.
Indiana Wesleyan trailed by double digits at the 15:00 minute mark of the second half and that lasted nearly the entire rest of the way. IWU did drop that deficit to single digits when Kyle Mangas made it 90-81 with 4:38 to play. However, the Owls answered with three consecutive 3-pointers to pull away for a 99-84 advantage with three minutes to go.
OWLS REACH RARE AIR
The 107 points for Oregon Tech are the most a Wildcat opponent scored this year and they are the only team to hit the century mark vs. IWU. Huntington (Ind.) was the last IWU opponent to score 100 on February 22, 2017 in an overtime game and East-West (Ill.) was the last IWU opponent to reach 100 points in regulation on November 5, 2013. The 107 points is the most against the Wildcats since Berea (Ky.) scored 108 on December 12, 1998.
NAIA HEAVYWEIGHT BATTLE
Indiana Wesleyan and Oregon Tech represent elite programs at the NAIA Division II level. The schools are two of the four programs to have won three national championships and two of the five programs that have won 30+ games at the national tournament. Saturday’s game is the first national tournament game to feature two teams with three national titles and the first to feature two teams with 30+ national tournament wins.
“That was a very physical game and the most physical game we have been involved in this year. It was their day. I definitely think there were things we could have done better but it was their day inside and out.”
“Fink had a day today and he looked like a national player of the year. He made all kinds of shots and made a lot of plays.”
“This has been one of my most enjoyable years of coaching I’ve ever had because of these seniors. What represents them is the transformation of each of them. Each one of them has a different story and came to us from different places in life. But they all leave transformed men. They will be great impact leaders wherever they go.”
Indiana Wesleyan ends the 2018-19 season with a 30-6 record and Crossroads League regular season and tournament championships. IWU became just the fifth team in NAIA DII history to win 30 or more games at the national tournament with a Round of 32 win over Washington Adventist (Md.).
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