The University of Findlay men's basketball team, ranked first in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) poll, made history on Saturday, March 28 by finishing 36-0 after a 56-53 last second victory over Cal Poly Pomona in the NCAA Division II National Championship. The win in Springfield, Massachusetts at the MassMutual Center marked the first time a NCAA Division II national champion had won 36 games and lost zero.
Tied after regulation, the Oilers headed into overtime for the third time in the past four games and got off to a good start when senior forward Morgan Lewis connected on a jumper in the lane.
Leading 44-42, Larry Gordon tied the game for Pomona but senior forward Josh Bostic answered with a lay-up of his own before picking up his fifth foul of the game.
After a few lead changes, Pomona jumped out to a 51-48 lead with 2:01 remaining when Gordon scored four straight points. The Oilers were not out of it however as junior guard Marcus Parker weaved his way into the paint and scored to make the score 51-50 with 1:33 left.
Trailing by one, Parker again converted in the lane while being fouled but missed the ensuing free throw to put Findlay up 53-51 with only 24 seconds showing on the clock.
Up by two, Gordon splashed a jumper with 13 ticks remaining to tie the game but the Oilers raced the other way and got a good luck from Parker who missed. Roberts then collected the offensive rebound and time was called with just over two seconds remaining in the game.
Tied at 53-53, the Oilers ran an inbounds play for senior guard Tyler Evans who dribbled to the left, took a step back and drained a three pointer at the buzzer to give Findlay a thrilling win and their first national title.
The shot by Evans will no doubt be remembered for years to come and it was his only make of the game.
As a team, the Oilers really struggled to score offensively as they hit on only 34.5 percent (20-of-58) of their field goal attempts. Findlay also struggled from the three point line, hitting only 22.7 percent (5-of-22) of their shots, but pounded the offensive glass for 14 boards to get extra chances.
Bostic led the way with 13 points and six rebounds as he was named the MVP of the tournament.
Lewis, who also earned a spot on the all-tournament team, added 12 points and six boards while senior center Lee Roberts chipped in nine points, eight rebounds and three steals.
Parker and sophomore guard Nathan Hyde each scored eight points while Evans, the hero of the day, scored four.
Pomona was led by Gordon's 17 points and nine rebounds while Tobias Jahn scored 14 to go along with eight boards.
The Oilers will now return home on Sunday as the 2009 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball National Champions.