Defense Meets Offense: Inside the Nationals Opener

Defense Meets Offense: Inside the Nationals Opener

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Today, Maranatha's NCCAA-best defense squares off against Johnson University Tennessee's NCCAA-best offense in a high-stakes opener to the 2018 NCCAA DII National Tournament, hosted by Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C.

Coming into today, the #5 Sabercats hold a 67.9 average in points allowed per game while #4 Johnson average 93.8 points scored per game.

Does defense win championships? We're about to find out.

Coming into today, the Sabercats hold a superior 11-0 record in NCCAA DII play while the Royals have recorded a 6-2 record against NCCAA competition. To get here, the Sabercats breezed through the NCCAA North Region Championship while the Royals had to settle for an At-Large selection from the Mideast region. JUT fell NCCAA perennial powerhouse Grace Bible College in the Mideast Championship by a score of 109-68.

Johnson's Taylor Gilpin has led the scoring efforts for the Royals. Gilpin will be the man to watch, as he has averaged over 20 points per game this season. 

The only time these two teams have met was over 20 years ago, when Maranatha took home the win, 88-72, on March 6, 1986.

The winner of the second-ever version of the Maranatha-Johnson rivalry advances to the National Semifinal against the winner of #1 Randall University and #8 Kentucky Christian University. Randall won the title last year and KCU finished runners-up.

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