Winona Lake, IN – The #1 seeded Emmanuel Men's Basketball team took on the #2 seeded Southwestern Christian University. After rolling through the competition relatively easily, the Lions faced a much more challenging opponent in the Eagles.
With a good start, the Lions were able to take an early lead and hold onto it through the entire first half. It was a huge team effort as multiple players had huge contributions including a big three-pointer from Nathan Williams and a powerful dunk by Zach Lillie. By the end of the first half, Emmanuel was leading 39-29.
After getting refocused during half time, the Eagles came back with a lot of energy. Southwestern was able to rally back and eventually take the lead at 40-39 before a jump shot from Kurtis Robinson snatched the lead back with 6 and a half minutes remaining. The Lions would continue to hold the lead and begin to pull away towards the end after some forced free throws. With 25 seconds left Austin Greene had a steal that would set up a huge 360 degree dunk from Kendrick Colvin to seal the deal. Emmanuel is now the NCCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball National Champion after defeating Southwestern Christian University 75-68.
The Lions were led by Kurtis Robinson with 16 points and 8 rebounds followed by Zach Lillie with 15 points and 6 rebounds. The Lions shot 46.6% from the field while holding Southwestern down to 40.7%. A huge difference in bench points showed the depth of Emmanuel's bench with 43 points compared to the Eagles 2. This win marks the end of the season for the men who finish with an overall record of 27-5 and a conference record of 16-4.
Congrats to the Men on a successful season and bringing home a national championship!
[Editor's Comment: I want to extend my congratulations to Coach T. J. Rosene and the young basketball players for Emmanuel College for bringing home the trophy for the National NCCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Championship. Equally, I want to congratulate Coach Dave Bliss and his young Eagles basketball team for Southwestern Christian University for their excellent season and outstanding playoffs. What a historic game between two sister Pentecostal Colleges/Universities to go all the way to play each other for the national championship.
SCU ended its first season under head coach Dave Bliss at 19-15 overall. After losing seven of its first nine games, the Eagles stormed out of the winter break and finished the second half of the season with a 17-8 record. SCU enjoyed its best season since joining the NAIA in 2010.
We bless both coaches and players of our church institutions. We, also, bless Dr. Ron White, President of Emmanuel College, and Dr. Reggies Wenyika, President of Southwestern Christian University. And we ask God to bless the International Pentecostal Holiness Church.]