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Saturday, March 16, 2002

Otterbein Wins NCAA Division III National Championship with 102-83 Win over Elizabethtown

SALEM, Va. --- Otterbein won its first NCAA Division III men's basketball championship with a 102-83 win over Elizabethtown in the championship game Saturday in Salem, Va. Otterbein capitalized on a spate of three-pointers and Etown turnovers beginning mid-way through the second half to take the lead and pull ahead by almost 20 points by the end of the game.

Brian Loftus (Doylestown, PA/Central Bucks West) scored the game's opening bucket for Elizabethtown at 19:10, as Otterbein turned the ball over on its first three possessions. But, by 18:26, Otterbein had taken a 5-2 lead on a three-point play by Jeff Gibbs. Another three-point play by Gibbs at 18:05 gave Otterbein an 8-2 lead.

At 14:25, a jumper by Etown's Chad Heller (New Holland, PA/Garden Spot) tied the score at 14-14. By the second media timeout at 11:54, the score remained tied up, this time at 18-18. A Bob Porambo (Bethlehem, PA/Liberty) jumper at 11:40 gave Etown a 20-18 lead.

A Loftus three pointer at 10:12 gave Etown a 27-22 lead. Otterbein took a 29-27 lead at 8:50 on a three-pointer. The lead was short-lived, as Heller responded with a three-pointer of his own. By the third media time-out at 7:49, Etown held a 34-31 lead.

A pair of Heller free throws at 6:34 gave Etown a 41-31 lead. At 6:04, Ian Daecher (Lititz, PA/Warwick) got a steal, made a fast-break layup and extended Etown's lead to 43-31. A Kevin Shay jumper at 2:50 moved Otterbein to within eight points, 49-41. Tony Borghese was fouled at 1:56 and made both of his free throws to cut Etown's lead to 49-43. A Mo Ross three-pointer at 1:10 pulled Otterbein to within three, but Rocky Parise (Harrisburg, PA/Bishop McDevitt) followed with an Etown three-pointer at 0:48, making the score 52-46.

Gibbs was fouled at 0:25 and made both of his free throws, cutting the Blue Jay lead to 52-48. A Daecher put-back at 0:10 gave Etown a 54-48 lead going into halftime.
Etown shot 51.3% (20-for-39) from the floor in the first half, while Otterbein shot 45.0% (18-for-40). Gibbs led all players in the first half with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Etown's leading first-half scorer was Loftus with 11 points.

Otterbein inbounded to start the second half, and Shay was fouled at 19:46. He made one of his foul shots, cutting the Etown lead to 54-49. A Shay three-pointer at 18:40 cut Etown's lead to 56-54. A three-pointer by Brian Marquette (Lebanon, PA/Cedar Crest) at 16:10 increased the Blue Jays' lead to 62-54.

A Loftus three-pointer at 14:50 gave Etown a 65-54 lead, forcing an Otterbein timeout. By 13:21, though, Etown's lead was reduced to 65-58, following a pair of Shay foul shots. A Shay three-pointer at 11:54 cut the Etown lead to 65-61. A Borghese three-pointer at 9:22 reduced Etown's lead to 71-68. A three-pointer by Shay at 8:31 tied the game at 71-71, and Otterbein took the lead on a Gibbs foul shot at 8:21, 72-71.

Etown took back the lead at 7:32 on a Porambo three-pointer, 74-72. A Shay three-pointer at 7:09 returned a 75-74 lead to Otterbein. Borghese hit a pair of foul shots at 6:45 to send Otterbein ahead, 77-74. Borghese hit a three-pointer at 6:02, giving Otterbein an 80-74 lead. Otterbein went ahead 82-74 with 5:20 remaining in the game. At 4:55, Borghese made a foul shot to send Otterbein ahead 83-74. Borghese hit another three-pointer at 3:54, giving Otterbein an 86-74 lead. By 3:43, two more Borghese foul shots gave Otterbein an 88-74 advantage.

Otterbein went up 100-83 with 53 seconds remaining in the game.

Shay led Otterbein in the game with 29 points, and he hit four three-pointers. Gibbs scored 25 points and pulled down 25 rebounds. Borghese scored 21 points and had eight assists, and Mo Ross scored 12 points, all on three-pointers, for Otterbein. Otterbein shot 11-for-24 from three-point range in the game, and seven-for-13 in the second half.

Loftus and Porambo each led Etown in scoring with 17 points. Jon English (Haddonfield, NJ/Haddon Township) scored 14 points for the Blue Jays. Daecher scored 10 points, and Parise led the Blue Jays with eight assists.

Porambo was Etown's lone selection for the Final Four all-tournament team, while Shay made the all-tournament team from Otterbein along with tournament MVP Gibbs.

Elizabethtown concludes the season with a 29-3 overall record, the best in the history of the program, while Otterbein finishes with a 30-3 record.

View the box score.