Oklahoma Baptist celebrates second national championship with 84-83 win

Oklahoma Baptist celebrates second national championship with 84-83 win

March 23, 2010


Kansas City, Mo.(Final Bracket) No. 3 Oklahoma Baptist University received balanced scoring, including a game-high 21 from AJ Hawkins, to defeat No. 13 Azusa Pacific University (Calif.), 84-83 in the 2010 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship game Tuesday at Municipal Auditorium. Hawkins, who scored 16 of his points in the second half, was part of a team to erase a seven-point half time deficit. Oklahoma Baptist brings home its second National Championship with the last coming in 1966.

“To be fair, when I was fortunate enough to get this job, I owed it to the program, to Bob Hoffman and all the other coaches and players that were there before me, to try to win a national championship and not just be a good program,” said Oklahoma Baptist head coach Doug Tolin, who was named Rawlings-NAIA Coach of the Year.

Tolin added, “I think Bob would have won four or five by now. But we’ve had good teams and just didn’t get the breaks some years.”

Trailing 37-30 at the half, Oklahoma Baptist quickly narrowed the gap and took the lead on two free throws by Garrett Steinmetz. Those free throws capped a 9-0 run and the Bison had their first lead, 49-47, at the 18:02 mark. After 11 lead changes and eight ties, Hawkins connected on a 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining to give Oklahoma Baptist the one-point win. Hawkins’ game-winner was the result of a Nate Brumfield offensive rebound.

The one-point victory by Oklahoma Baptist marks just the third time in the event’s 73-year history, and the first since 1981, that the national championship game has been decided by one point. Southwestern (Kan.) defeated San Diego State (Calif.) 32-31 in 1939 and Bethany Nazarene (Okla.) used overtime to edge Alabama-Huntsville 86-85 in 1981.

The Bison shot 63 percent (17-for-27) from the field in the second half en route to the win. All five starters reached double-figures, led by Hawkins’ 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Kevin Swinton finished with 19 points and a game-high nine rebounds. The Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, Nate Brumfield, netted 15 points and had seven boards. Steinmetz chipped in 14 and Tim Bowman had 10.

Azusa Pacific owned the lead the entire first half, holding as much as an eight-point lead on two occasions. The last of those came at the 1:45 mark after Christian Katuala hit a shot on the block. His basket capped a 20-12 run and gave Azusa Pacific a 45-37 advantage.

Swinton kept the Bison close with 13 first-half points. His 3-point play with 32 seconds remaining cut the deficit to five, 45-40. Marshall Johnson ended the scoring in the first half with a dunk for the Cougars. Dominique Johnson finished the half with 11 points while Johnson had 10 to lead Azusa Pacific’s scoring efforts.

The second half was a different story for the Azusa Pacific defense. After holding the Bison to 46.7 percent in the first stanza, Oklahoma Baptist hit 17-of-27 shots in the second half. In addition to the defensive struggles, Azusa Pacific turned the ball over nine times after totaling zero turnovers in the first half.

The Cougars showed resiliency, however, hitting clutch shots to answer Oklahoma Baptist in the second half. Azusa Pacific never trailed by more than four points in the final 20 minutes and still had a chance to win in the final minutes. A pair of free throws by reserve Mike Danielian with 1:50 remaining saw Azusa Pacific edge out to an 83-78 lead, but that would be the last time the Cougars scored.

From there, the stage was owned by NAIA Player of the Year, Brumfield, and All-Tournament team member, Hawkins. The duo combined for the game’s final six points including the game-winning trifecta by Hawkins.

The game did not finish without a little drama. Azusa Pacific’s Marshall Johnson grabbed Dominique Johnson’s 2-point miss with nearly one second left and after a bobble, heaved a 10-foot fade-away. The shot went through the rim, but the horn sounded prior to the made basket.

Azusa Pacific ends its season with a 28-10 record and had its 10-game winning streak snapped. The Cougars were led by the 24-point performance from Johnson. Reggie Owens ended with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting, while Marshall Johnson compiled 12 points.

Oklahoma Baptist championship game notes

·        The Bison own the most championship wins in history with a 54-20 overall record. This was their 23rd appearance in the event.
·        Oklahoma Baptist played in its seventh national championship final and is 2-5 all-time in the title game. The Bison won their first   national championship in 1966 over Georgia Southern, 88-59.
·        The seven national championship final appearances are tied for most all-time with Oklahoma City. The Bison played in the title game in 1965, 1966, 1967, 1993, 1997, 2002 and 2010.
·        The Bison are the fourth current member of the NAIA to win multiple national championships.
·        The 84-83 victory by Oklahoma Baptist marks just the third time in the event’s 73-year history, and the first since 1981, that the national championship game has been decided by one point. Southwestern (Kan.) defeated San Diego State (Calif.) 32-31 in 1939 and Bethany Nazarene (Okla.) used overtime to edge Alabama-Huntsville 86-85 in 1981.
·        In five championship games this year, the Bison outscored their opponents 87-63 from the free-throw line and made more free throws (87) than their opponents attempted (75). Overall, the Bison finished 87-for-130 (.401) from the charity stripe.
·        Oklahoma Baptist is the first No. 3 seed to win the title since 1993 (Hawaii Pacific) and ninth overall.
·        The state of Oklahoma has produced 11 Division I Men’s Basketball National Champions from five different institutions. Oklahoma Baptist joins Oklahoma City (6) as the only other multiple national title winner. 
·        The state of Oklahoma has had 18 different programs qualify for the national championship since 1938. The state’s all-time national championship record is 187-110 (.630).
·        The Bison senior trio of starters in Nate Brumfield, AJ Hawkins and Garrett Steinmetz scored 321 of Oklahoma Baptist’s 405 points in five games played. This trio shot 92-of-162 (.362) from the floor and was 45-of-67 (.402) from the free-throw line. They also teamed together for 68 of the 183 total rebounds by the Bison.
·        Nate Brumfield is the third Oklahoma Baptist player to be named the Chuck Taylor Most Valuable Player, joining Al Tucker (1966, 67).
·        Nate Brumfield is the second Oklahoma Baptist player to be named Player of the Year, joining DuJuan Brown (2002.) Brumfield is the first outright Player of the Year for the Bison, as Brown shared the honor.
·        Doug Tolin is the second Oklahoma Baptist head coach to be named Coach of the Year, joining Bob Bass (1967).
·        Nate Brumfield finished with 100 points in five games played. He was the only player to reach the century mark among nearly 480 participating individuals.
·        Nate Brumfield is the first player since Zach Moss of Mountain State (W.Va.) in 2004 to score 100 points at the national championship.
·        Nate Brumfield is the sixth Oklahoma Baptist to be the national championship’s scoring leader.
·        Oklahoma Baptist trailed by double-digits at some point in 3-of-5 games played in Kansas City, but did not allow Azusa Pacific to hold more than an eight-point advantage.
·        The 47-40 halftime deficit is the second time in five games at the national championship that the Bison trailed at the break. In the quarterfinals against Biola (Calif.), Oklahoma Baptist was down by 14 at the break, 31-17. The Bison shot just 25.9 percent in that first half, but finished the game shooting 44.2 percent and won 59-54. Against Azusa Pacific, Oklahoma Baptist was shooting 46.7 percent in the first half, but finished firing 54.4 percent in the 84-83 win.
·        Kevin Swinton’s 13 first-half points were the most for the junior in the opening 20 minutes in five games played. The junior finished the game with a team-best 19 points.
·        Azusa Pacific is the first team that shot over 50 percent in the first half from both the floor and from behind the 3-point line against Oklahoma Baptist. The Cougars 54.9 shooting percentage from the floor was the highest allowed in five games.
·        OBU took its first lead of the game at 18:02 for a 49-48 lead on Garrett Steinmetz’s two free throws. That capped off a 9-0 Bison run at the start of the second half.
·        Nate Brumfield entered the game leading the NAIA in field goal percentage (.684) and finished the national championship game shooting 6-for-9 (.400), scoring 15 points, in his final collegiate outing. He was a double-figure scorer in all five games for Oklahoma Baptist

Azusa Pacific championship game notes
·        With both the men’s and women’s teams playing in the National Championship final Tuesday, this occurrence marks the second time since 1981 (origin of Division I women’s basketball) that the same school has played for the National Championship trophy in the same year.
·        The Cougars made their second overall Championship final appearance with the other coming in 2005 (L, 65-55 vs. John Brown (Ark.).
·        With a 28-18 overall record in 18 championship appearances, Azusa Pacific’s record falls to 20-11 since 2000.
·        Head coach Justin Leslie has played in the national championship event as a player at Azusa Pacific, been an assistant coach for five years and completed his third year as the head coach.
·        With the margin of victory Tuesday at one point, that stat follows a trend. Since 1999, the average margin of victory has been 6.2 points.
·        After leading the entire first half and by as many as eight points, Azusa Pacific was behind in the second half for more than 14 minutes. The Cougars largest deficit was four points.
·        After a 47-40 lead at the half, Azusa Pacific held an advantage in each of the five national championship games by an average of 7.2 points.
·        Reggie Owens, who scored 87 points through five games played (17.4), was the team’s leading scorer in two games.
·        Owens finished the game with 17 points after notching just four at the half.
·        Caleb Burgess, who went for 18 points in the semifinal win, finished tonight with just five points.
·        Dominique Johnson reached his 10th straight game of 10-plus points and 34th overall (in 38 games). With 24 points, he reached the 20-point barrier 12 times.
·        Marshall Johnson, who finished with 12 points, hit for 10-or more points 30 total times (in 38 games).
·        In five championship games this year, Azusa Pacific has nearly made more free throws (98) than the opponent has attempted (101). Overall, the Cougars were 98-for-132 (.742) from the charity stripe in the event.
·        The Cougars had their season-high 10-game winning streak snapped in the championship loss.

For complete tournament recaps, box scores and bracket click here.