Moore, Okla — The Manhattan Christian College men’s basketball team captured the NCCAA Southwest Region Championship by defeating Randall University, the top seed in the region and the No. 1 team in the country, 104-103. This was the third meeting of the year between these two teams, and the Saints had won the previous two meetings, both in overtime. Randall got off to a strong start behind Regional MVP Trey Sneed, who helped propel Randall to an early lead. Mike White was keeping MCC in it in the first half, as he scored 24 points to keep the Thunder within touch. At halftime Randall had a 49-40 lead. MCC had struggled from behind the three-point as they had not connected on any of their eight attempts.
In the second half MCC was able to close the gap to 59-58, but Randall stretched the lead back to eight points at 68-60. Randall took its largest lead of the night at 88-75 with just under eight minutes left in the game. With just over three minutes left MCC trailed 98-89 and in the next two minutes MCC went on a 9-0 run, capped by a Sterling Turner layup to knot the score at 98. After Sneed hit a free throw, a Nick Babalola three gave MCC its first lead since the first half at 101-99. After a defensive stop, Chance Houston hit one free throw with 23 second left. Randall wasn’t finished and Brandon Askew connected on three to tie the score at 102 with fifteen seconds. Following a timeout Sterling Turner hit a floater in the lane to give MCC a 104-102 lead. White finished with a career-high 42 points, while Babalola chipped in 22 points and 12 rebounds and Turner added 20 points.
To advance to the championship game, MCC defeated Central Christian College of the Bible 78-50 in the quarterfinals and in the semi-finals they defeated Ozark Christian College 104-93. MCC is now 23-7 on the season and will advance to the NCCAA II National Tournament in Ankeny, Iowa. The tournament will be eight teams and take place March 9-11.