Uniontown, PA – Following three years of close finishes, and after finishing as the 2016 runner-up, the Concordia College Alabama Hornets secured the 2017 USCAA Men's Division I National Championship, defeating Illinois Tech 61-51.
In similar fashion to their quarterfinal match-up against Iowa Wesleyan, the second-seeded Hornets got off to a slow start. Just as they did in their first game at the 2017 USCAA National Championships, Concordia played lockdown defense and clawed their way back to bring home the Men's Division I National Championship to Selma, Alabama.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Dennis Miles led the Hornets with 16 points and 10 rebounds on 6-12 shooting in just 23 minutes of play. Deangelo Anthony played a game-high 38 minutes and scored 13 points while Tavin Cumming added 12 points in 37 minutes. All-Tournament Team selection Malik Howze of Illinois Tech played every minute and led his Scarlet Hawks with 9 points, 6 assists, and 3 steals.
Illinois Tech got off to a quick start with six straight points from All-Tournament Team player Samuel Rarick pacing an early 9-2 advantage. The Hornets struggled to stop the Scarlet Hawks early. The Scarlet Hawls saw their largest lead at 23-12 at the 7 minute mark. However, early fouls on Rarick and center Max Hisatake forced the Illinois Tech big men to sit and play less aggressive on defense. Concordia implemented a trapping press that Illinois Tech would struggle to solve. Concordia forced turnovers and cut their deficit to just six points at the half, 33-27.
Concordia College Alabama carried their first half momentum into the second half. The Hornets went on a 17-4 run to take control of the game. Foul trouble continued to haunt the Scarlet Hawks. Rarick was limited to just 1 point in the second and was 0-9 from the field. Parker Joncus, who played all 40 minutes, made a key jump shot with 11:39. This led to a late surge for Illinois Tech who would close to deficit to 46-44.
With under 10 minutes remaining, Miles scored nine consecutive Concordia College Alabama points and secured a National Championship for the Hornets.
Men's Division I All-Tournament Team
Joe McCloskey, University of Maine Fort Kent
Richard Parker, Berea College
Malik Howze, Illinois Tech
Sam Rarick, Illinois Tech
Deangelo Anthony, Concordia College
Men's Division I Tournament MVP
Dennis Miles, Concordia College Alabama