GREENVILLE, S.C. -- A day after knocking off the #1 seed, the Sabercats met their match against #4-seeded Great Lakes Christian College.
A 61-81 loss in an up-tempo, physical battle ends the title hopes for MBU, who are relegated to the 3rd Place Game tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. EST.
Despite the disappointment, the Sabercats have already secured their best finish at the national stage in at least 16 years.
- Result: #8 Maranatha 61-81 #4 Great Lakes
- Venue: Davis Field House, Bob Jones University
- Location: Greenville, S.C.
- Attendance: 489
- Records: MBU (16-10), GLCC (21-11)
The Crusaders came out with their calling card of an intense, physical press, and the Sabercats had a hard time adjusting to Great Lakes' athleticism. The Mideast Region runners-up played some stifling defense in the first half, forcing eight turnovers from the Blue and Gold while limiting Maranatha to shooting 31.3 percent from the floor.
At the other end of the court, the Crusaders connected eight shots from beyond the arc, helping themselves to a 41-33 lead going into the halftime break.
Two of the key difference-makers in the end would be the Crusaders' three-point shooting and their ability to dominate the physical play. It was a far cry from the shooting performance MBU put on yesterday, as the Sabercats could not find a rhythm under constant duress from GLCC.
A three-pointer just over two minutes into the second half cut the Great Lakes lead to six, and it was a fraction of the 21 points on the night from David Lerma. But even the senior's offensive contribution wasn't enough to faze the Crusaders. As the men in white drained shot after shot from downtown, the Sabercats knew their title hopes were about to end.
When the final horn sounded, the Crusaders had secured a 20-point win and a trip to the National Championship in their first-ever tournament appearance.
MBU Starters: 3-Book, 15-Lerma, 22-Sonnenberg, 23-Wilkerson, 35-Gill // GLCC Starters: 3-Adams, 10-Jones, 23-Reed, 24-Green, 34-Seidu
- Lerma: 21 points
- Tyree Bruno: 12 points
- 3-PT shooting: MBU 7-24, GLCC 15-30
- Last time: GLCC beat Maranatha 88-74 on January 8
- Series: MBU leads the series 14-3
- Great Lakes qualified for the tournament by finishing runners-up in the Mideast Region
- GLCC appears at the national tournament for the first time in program history
- The Crusaders now hold an NCCAA record of 8-2 this season
The Sabercats will take on the loser of #2 Grace Christian and #3 Johnson for the 3rd-Place game tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.