Indiana Wesleyan University Men’s Basketball made two defensive stops in the final seven seconds to hang on for a 69-66 victory to win the NAIA Division II National Championship, in Point Lookout, Mo., March 15.
IWU beat No. 1 Saint Francis (Ind.) after losing to them three times earlier this season. The IWU Wildcats finished the season with a 33-5 record. This number of wins ties a record for most in a season, which last year’s team also accomplished.
Junior Bob Peters led the team with 20 points, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Lane Mahurin (junior) added 18 points and 4 rebounds, while Jonny Marlin (senior) and Josh Mawhorr (senior) each scored 10 points.
Indiana Wesleyan shot 34.1-percent (15 of 44) from 2-point range but 56.3-percent (9 of 16) from beyond the arc.
“We couldn’t make a stop a month ago. But this team bought in and won a national championship on defense,” said Head Coach Greg Tonagel. “I am so proud of this team. We weren’t naturally a good defensive team, but they bought in and became one just in time.”
IWU Men’s Basketball becomes the first program to win two titles in three seasons since Northwestern (Iowa) did so in 2001 and 2003.
Several Wildcats received recognitions. Marlin was named the 2016 Championship Most Outstanding Player. Mahurin and Peters joined Marlin on the 2016 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball All-Championship Team. Head coach Greg Tonagel was honored as the NABC/NAIA Division II Coach of the Year.