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    No. 19 ONU won the CCAC Tournament Championship over No. 18 Cardinal Stritch 90-80, it's the Tigers' first tournament title s
    No. 19 ONU won the CCAC Tournament Championship over No. 18 Cardinal Stritch 90-80, it's the Tigers' first tournament title s
    Men's Basketball - D1-D2 - Sun, Mar. 1, 2015

    BOURBONNAIS, Ill. —There was nothing left to do but cut down the nets in McHie Arena on Saturday evening as head coach Ralph Hodge and Olivet Nazarene University were crowned CCAC Tournament Champions.  The Tigers defeated No. 18 Cardinal Stritch 90-80 as a mass of Olivet fans witnessed history and celebrated once the horn sounded. Almost 15 years to the day the Tigers were able to capture the sixth tournament championship in program history.

    The Tigers tallied their seventh consecutive win, making for their longest win streak of the year. Also, with a win over nationally ranked Cardinal Stritch (24-9), it was an eighth win over a ranked opponent or team receiving votes this season. The Tigers' 25th win on Saturday marks the most wins by an ONU (25-8) team since the 2001-02 season when the Tigers finished in the Elite Eight (27-9). The Tigers are 16-2 in games at McHie Arena, their best record since the 1998-99 season when they were 13-4. ONU is 16-2 in their last 18 games; of their 16 home wins, 11 are by double digits, and they have scored 80 or more points in 12 of 18 games. The last time an ONU team won both CCAC titles it was in 1999-2000, that team finished the year 30-9 and as NAIA Division I Final Four participants.

    "[Our game plan] is the same as it's been all season long when we first started," Hodge said before the game started. "We said it's going to be a season of poise and purpose. That's what we talked about all year long: staying in the moment. Being in control of our emotions, our mental state. [Then], playing with a purpose of how we've practiced, how we've prepared, of our team's abilities."

    With 13:12 remaining in the first half, sophomore guard Tyler Semenas hit a three-pointer for Cardinal Stritch giving them a 12-11 lead; it's last of the game. From that point the Tigers took back the lead and never looked back. They maintained their lead the remaining 33 minutes and by as many as 13 twice, once in both halves. For the 15th time (15-0) this season the Tigers shot north of 50 percent from the field and were 42.9 percent from behind the arc. At the same time, the Tigers were 23-for-29 from the free-throw line (.793). ONU was 62-for-74 (.838) from the line in the entire tournament, almost 15 percentage points better than the Tigers' season average.

    The Wolves managed to shoot 50.9 from the field, but only 37.0 from the three-point line. The ONU defensive effort kept the Wolves to only eight points in the paint. The Tigers also outdid the Stritch from the line (12-of-18) where they average over 18 made and almost 25 attempted a game.

    ONU again won on the glass 31 to 29, making it 12 straight games that they haven't lost the very important battle of rebounding. Neither team was able to gather many offensive rebounds or convert much off their second chances. The Tigers are 21-4 when they win the rebounding statistic. ONU also had only eight turnovers (lowest in last eight games), compared to 12 for the Wolves. In 21 of the last 23 games, the Tigers have recorded 14 or fewer turnovers. The Tigers scored 16 points off turnovers.

    In addition, the Tigers' 10-point win is their 17th by double digits this season. The 90 points scored in the win on Saturday marks the ninth time they have scored 90 or more points, and their sixth consecutive. ONU had five Tigers in double figures, when the Tigers have at least four they are 12-3. The Tigers are currently averaging 80.5 points per game, the most since the 2001-02 season. When Olivet gives up 80 ore more points, they are 4-1. In all 25 wins this season, the Tigers have scored more than 70 points. The Tigers' bench scored 27, nine more than the Wolves; when ONU outdoes the opponents, they are 21-6.

    Junior All-CCAC First Team selection, Aaron Larson (Tolono, Ill.), finished with 18 points, going 6-for-9 from the floor, 2-for-4 from the three-point line and 4-for-63 from the free-throw line. He added nine rebounds, two assists and three steals in 38 minutes. With 1,464 career points, he is 15th all-time on the Tigers' all-time scoring list. He is also now 10th all-time in rebounds with 687 for his career. He has the 16th most made field goals (559), 20th most free-throws (258) and 19th most attempted (358) in ONU history.

    Senior All-CCAC Second Team selection, Austin Davis (North Augusta, S.C.), led the Tigers in scoring with 19 points on 5-for-13 shooting, going 2-for-8 from behind the arc and 7-for-7 from the line. He added two rebounds and five assists in 35 minutes. Davis has made 67 three-pointers (.523) in his last 19 games. He has 100 this year (school record) and 248 career three-pointers (second all-time in Tiger history), only 10 from tying the all-time record. He now has 1,227 points in his career (29th all-time) and 20th in assists (326).

    Junior All-CCAC Honorable Mention selection, Zach Wagner (Roselle, Ill.), played 33 minutes and led the Tigers inside with 18 points (19th in double digits) on 9-for-13 shooting. He had four rebounds. Junior Reid Farchmin (Mahomet, Ill.) had seven points on 2-for-3 shooting, going 2-for-2 from the free-throw line. He added two assists and one rebound in 18 minutes.

    Off the bench, Tyler Crater (Hampshire, Ill.) had 12 points (18th in double digits) on 2-for-5 shooting, going 2-for-4 from the three-point line and 6-for-8 from the three-point line. He added four rebounds and three assists in 21 minutes. Junior Alex Thorson (Philo, Ill.) played 29 minutes, finishing with 11 points on 3-for-5 shooting, 2-for-3 from the three-point and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. He added four rebounds and four assists.

    The Tigers will take their CCAC Regular Season (co-champion) and Tournament titles into the NAIA Division II National Tournament. ONU awaits their opponent, which will be named on Wednesday, March 4. The Tigers first round game will be either Wednesday or Thursday, March 11 or 12.