The 2020 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament ended in dramatic fashion Thursday.
The Ottawa University men’s basketball team rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to upend Concordia, Neb., 87-84, in a first-round game Thursday in Sioux Falls, S.D.
As the game wound down, the NAIA office released the following statement:
"The NAIA announced effective immediately, it will be canceling all remaining winter championship events, including those that are currently underway, which included the men’s and Division II tournaments. The health and safety of our student-athletes, as well as all involved in our championship events, is the NAIA’s highest priority. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments and NAIA leadership will work closely with our member institutions to determine the best path forward for future NAIA events, including all spring 2020 championships."
That includes next week’s women’s wrestling tournament and the NAIA Div. I Men’s Tournament in Kansas City, Mo., March 18-24. The announcement came on the heels of major college conference tournaments (Big 12, Big 10, ACC, American) canceling their basketball events.
All of those basketball tournaments were being played with only essential people in the arenas.
For Ottawa, the end of a storybook season came too soon. This was the Braves’ fourth-ever national tournament victory. This was the first time the Braves had received a seed garnering the No. 2 seed in the Cramer Bracket. Ottawa entered the tournament with its highest ranking in program history at No. 5.
The KCAC regular-season champs needed a late rally to nip Concordia. Ottawa trailed all but the final 19 seconds of the game.
Concordia led 73-61 with nine minutes remaining. Ottawa went on a 12-0 run to tie the game at 73 with 5:30 left. The press fueled the comeback.
Concordia led 84-82 when Ottawa called a timeout with 32 seconds left. The Braves passed the ball to senior sharpshooter Ryan Haskins in the corner and he drained a trey with 19 seconds remaining to give Ottawa its first lead of the game at 85-84.
Concordia set up for a possible game-winner. Darryl Bowie stole the ball with six seconds left and was fouled with 4.7 seconds remaining. He hit both free throws. Mallory Jackson sealed the victory with a steal.
Junior Jaquan Daniels paced the Braves with 27 points on 12-of-13 shooting. Daniels led Ottawa with four steals. Bowie netted 19 points. Mason McDow and Haskins finished with 11 points each. McDow led Ottawa with six rebounds.
Ottawa finished its season at 28-6. The 28 victories is a program for a single-season. This was Ottawa’s seventh national tournament appearance, the last coming in 2009.
This was the final NAIA Div. II Tournament as the NAIA will go to one division beginning in the 2020-21 season.