Thunder Fall in Heartbreaker, Rebound on Thursday
The men's basketball team qualified for the NCCAA DII National Championships as the final at-large selection into the field of eight and found themselves in a matchup with the #3 seeded Johnson University Royals on Thursday night. The matchup featured Maravich award winner, Coby Jones, and the hardnosed Royals against the high powered Thunder, who entered the game as one of the top scoring teams in the country. The game started out as a defensive battle with both teams struggling to put the ball in the hole. In the last five minutes of the first half the Royals were able to open up the lead and take a 7 point advantage at the half.
In the second half, MCC would again start cold and find themselves down by as many as 14 points with fifteen to go. They would battle back, however, and cut it back to single digits with 9 minutes left. The lead would stay between nine and twelve over the next several minutes as MCC would fail to make up any ground. With 4:40 on the clock and down eleven, MCC would begin a furious come back that ended with Jordan White freethrows to force overtime. In the first overtime, MCC would again draw a deficet and have to battle. With 2.4 seconds on the clock, Jordan White would grab the rebound off of a second free throw from Johnson and launch a three quarter-court shot to force a second OT. With many players fouled out, the Thunder would run out of gas in the second OT and fall 92-97.
The loss would force a short turnaround for MCC as they played today at 12:00 pm in the consolation semi-finals against the champions from the South Region, Southeastern Baptist College. MCC would come out strong and get up by as many as 27 points before coasting to a ten point victory. The Thunder would rack up 20 assists in the game. The win now sets up a consolation championship matchup with the Tigers from Grace Christian University on Saturday at 3:30 PM.