Uniontown, PA – In a matchup of Alabama rivals who had already split a pair of games during the regular season, it was the Oakwood University Ambassadors defeating the Concordia College Alabama Hornets by a score of 80-65. The Ambassadors were led by Brandon Daniel with 19 points, who was crowned the division's Most Valuable Player.
Oakwood saw five players reach double figures scoring in the contest; Maxwell Caines, Ollie Felps, Simeon Middleton, and Myron Johnson. As a team the Ambassadors shot over 50% from the floor, including 57% in their 50 point second half.
Concordia College Alabama was paced by Kendrick Atwood and Shaquille Duncan in the losing effort, scoring 23 and 24 points respectively. No other player would tally more than five points for the Hornets on the night.
Oakwood jumped out to a four point lead early in the first half, but Concordia responded with an 11-0 run that lasted until the fifteen minute mark in the half. The outburst was led by Atwood and Duncan, who had 9 of the team's first 11 points in what would be a theme of the night for the Hornets.
Caines scored five straight points midway through the first half to bring the Oakwood deficit to four. The teams exchanged buckets until another five point spurt from the Ambassadors with under eight minutes to play closed the gap to just one, Oakwood's closest margin since their lead in the game's early minutes.
Concordia would respond with back-to-back dunks from Duncan and Jamie Washington. After a Daniel three, Duncan would get another opportunity at the rim to draw a 27-22 advantage with five minutes left in the half. A three point play from Caines and another Daniel three-pointer with under four minutes gave Oakwood their first lead since the 17:35 mark. Then it was Atwood with a five point run of his own, giving the Hornets an edge they would hold for the rest of the first half.
With 18:08 left in the second half, a three point play from Cortez Wilson of Oakwood would tie the score at 35. It remained a one possession game all the way to the 10:41 mark when a Middleton three-pointer brought the tally to 49-45 in Oakwood's favor. In what would prove to the most important stretch of the game, the Ambassadors extended the lead to 59-49 with 7:58 remaining on four free throws from Ronnie Abrams and a triple from Caines.
A jumper from Washington and a three point play from Atwood cut that deficit to five with just over six minutes remaining. The rivals would exchange baskets for another extended period of time, before a pair of free throws from Duncan cut the lead to two with under three minutes to play. The Ambassadors would respond again with Caines and Abrams each splitting a pair of free throws. A foul on the offensive rebound of Abrams' miss allowed Middleton to tack on two more points at the line, giving Oakwood a 68-62 lead with two minutes left.
Playing his best game of the tournament and the last game of his college career, Atwood immediately responded with another three-pointer to bring the score back to 68-65. It would be as close as Concordia College Alabama would get the rest of the way.
On the ensuing possession Ollie Felps would draw a foul and hit both free throw attempts to make it a five point game. Felps would go on to score the last seven points in the game for Oakwood to deliver his team their first USCAA Men's Division I Basketball National Championship since 2012.
Men's Division I All-Tournament Team
Tyrus Fleetwood, Washington Adventist University
Angelo Griffis, Rochester College
Shaquille Duncan, Concordia College Alabama
Kendrick Atwood, Concordia College Alabama
Ronnie Abrams, Oakwood University
Men's Division I Tournament MVP
Brandon Daniel, Oakwood University