Irvine loses hoops title in close NAIA finals

In a rematch of last year’s title game, the men from Concordia University, Irvine, Calif., relinquished the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division I basketball championship March 30 in Kansas City.  Mountain State University, Beckley, W.Va., edged Irvine 74-70 in tounament play.
Top-seeded Mountain State led for all but 13 seconds in the first half, but Concordia, No. 6 seed in the tournament, whittled that lead to one point (69-68) with 1:55 remaining in the game.

Both teams scored again (71-70), and then each failed to hit the basket when it had the ball.  

After Mountain State senior guard Zane Gilliard was fouled with only 23 seconds remaining, he made both free throws to put his team up by three points (73-70).

The Concordia Eagles missed a potential game-tying shot, and then Cougar guard Eddie Starks ensured the championship for Mountan State when he made a free throw with eight seconds left.

Concordia’s Nick VanderLaan led his team with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Last year, the Concordia Eagles won the NAIA Division 1 men’s championship 88-84 in overtime play with Mountain State.

“We are very proud of our men’s basketball team,” Concordia President Jack Preus told Reporter.  “Not only do they play the game very well, but they play it with character and grace.”

Posted April 30, 2004

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