With all the hype of the National Championship tomorrow in Atlanta, Drury and Metro State set the bar for title games as they had a thrilling finish in the Division II championship today.
Drury (Springfield, Missouri) took on Metro State (Denver, Colorado) in Philips Arena to claim the men’s basketball national championship of the year.
The Metro State Roadrunners came in as the favorite with a 32-2 record looking for their third national title, but Drury who came in at 30-4 had something to say about that.
There is nothing better in basketball than an exciting finish. This game gave us an exciting finish, but to add onto that, it was for a national championship.
Metro State’s depth played a huge factor as their starters, who scored every single point for them, got a little too tired in the closing minutes. Drury took advantage of that as they made a 17 point comeback worth it in the final seconds when Alex Hall sank the eventual game winning free throws with 22.8 seconds left.
Tired legs and all, the Roadrunners dug from within to try and get a buzzer-beater to drop, but the tight defense of the Panthers was just too much as Drury’s players rushed the court to celebrate when Metro State failed to finish in the closing seconds.
By overcoming turnover problems and a huge deficit, the Panthers were able to win their 23 third straight game and their final win was their most important one of the streak. It was the win that earned their school their first national championship in history and Drury earned this victory.