PLNU’s Most Memorable Season in Sports History Ends in a National Championship

by on April 4, 2019 · 0 comments

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by Griffin Aseltine / LomaBeat / April 4, 2019

Out of more than 300 NCAA Division II schools, only eight get to see their men’s basketball team hoist a Regional Championship and play in the Elite Eight tournament. Out of more than 300 NCAA Division II schools, only two get to see their men’s basketball team play for the Division II Championship on national television.

In the most memorable season in PLNU sports history, just five years after officially joining NCAA Division II, the Sea Lions (31-5) were one of those two teams. They won the PacWest Championship, which was the first in the team’s history. They won the NCAA West Regional Championship in their own stadium, which was the first by any PLNU sports team. They advanced to the Elite Eight in Evansville, Indiana as an underdog #6 seed, looking to make even more noise on a nationwide scale.

They took down the Southeast Regional Champion Royals from Queens University of Charlotte, defeated the Midwest Regional Champion Screaming Eagles from Southern Indiana in front of a roaring away crowd, and had a chance to take down the undefeated Northwest Missouri State Bearcats in the National Championship.

And yet, there was still the feeling of heartbreak at the season’s conclusion, because despite being the underdog, it was seen by the team as an opportunity to go all the way. That opportunity gradually disappeared in the final minutes of the National Championship, as the Bearcats pulled away for a 64-58 victory over the Sea Lions to complete their perfect season.

“I could care less about the awards,” said junior guard Daulton Hommes, who was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II Player of the Year. “I wanted to win that game more than anything.”

Hommes led all players in the National Championship with 26 points, including a perfect 10-10 from the free-throw line, while senior forward Preston Beverly recorded 15 points, two steals, nine rebounds and a highlight block. Perhaps the deciding factor, however, was the team’s uncharacteristic shooting of 3-17 from the three-point line, compared to an 8-18 three-point performance by the Bearcats.

“I think it had a lot to do with our opponent,” said Head Coach Ryan Looney in reference to the team’s three-point shooting struggles. “They’re very good. They had a ton of length, and they could contest our shots probably better than anyone we’ve played all year.”

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