GREENVILLE, SC- The Great Lakes Christian College Men's Basketball program punched their ticket into their first ever National Championship game Friday night. The Crusaders took on #8 Maranatha Baptist University Sabercats. The Crusaders came into the game focused and with a lot of energy. The Crusader energy allowed them to control the game wire to wire. GLCC jumped out to an early lead with their patented high pressure defense. Isiah Reed came out on fire hitting four threes in the opening frame. The Crusaders fed off that fast start and stifled the Sabercat attack. GLCC had to battle some foul trouble in the first half from Isiah Reed, Jahmal Eggleston, and Basit Seidu. Kais McCook hit a big three at the buzzer in the first half to go up 40-28 in the first half.
In the second half the Sabercat battled back to cut the Crusader lead to as small as six on two seperate occasions but the Crusaders remained calm and kept draining their three pointers. Crusaders went 15/30 from deep. The Crusaders continued to play great defense, and dominate the glass. The Crusaders gave up 0 second chance points to the Sabercats. Jahmal Eggleston provided great spark off the bench in the second half scoring all nine of his points in the second frame, and DonTre' Garrett played some great minutes off the bench scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds. Arguably the play of the tournament happened when JaQuin Jones got a monsterous fast break two handed slam dunk on a Sabercat defender, that dunk solidified the Crusader championship berth. GLCC would go on to win 81-61.
Inside the Box Score:
- Crusaders scored 17 points off the Sabercats 13 turnovers.
- GLCC held the Sabercats to just 37 percent for the game
- Crusaders won the rebounding battle 38-35 and limited the Sabercats to just five offensive rebounds.
- GLCC only committed 11 turnovers in the game and dished out 13 assists
- Crusaders led for 38:42 of the forty minutes
What Coach Says:
"This was a great win for our program. I am so proud of my guys and the way they defended tonight. We have really locked into the defensive end and rebounded the ball at a high level in this tournament. Maranatha is as good as any one in the country on the offensive glass, and our guys did a tremendous job not allowing them any second chance points. I also believe the way we started the game really dictated our tempo and set the tone for us on both sides of the ball. This was a physical game, but I thought we did a good job matching their phsyicality." On playing for a national championship, "This is what we set out to do from the beginning of the season. I am not sure how many people us had us here, but we knew we would be here. Our locker room believed we would be playing March 9th. Grace Christian is someone we are very familiar with, and it will be an absolute battle. I am excited for our guys and the opportunity they have."
Great Lakes Christian College Men's Basketball team will take on #2 Grace Christian University in the NCCAA DII National Championship game at 6:00pm Saturday evening.