Oklahoma Baptist falls short in NAIA title game

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Oklahoma Baptist couldn't have asked for a better start in the NAIA Division I men's championship game. But the finish for OBU was agonizing.

The second-seeded Bison needed four minutes to build a 15-point lead, but Concordia (Calif.) University roared back for a 72-69 victory to claim the second title in school history.

Oklahoma Baptist coach Doug Tolin had no illusions that his team might be headed for a blowout win after the furious start.

"You don't continue to make all your shots and we got a little frantic with the ball," Tolin said. "They got back in it awfully quick. They're a good defensive team, so you knew they were going to come back."

The Eagles used a 19-3 run to grab the lead with 7:11 remaining in the first half and took charge in the second half before OBU made it dramatic at the end. Trailing by three, the Bison had two chances to tie on the final possession, but Emmanuel Wilson and Heath McKay each missed a three-point attempt.

Wilson led the Bison with 16 points and Marques Anderson added 15 points and 10 rebounds. Tommy Granado, Concordia's 6-foot-10 center, led the Eagles with 16 points and six rebounds.

Oklahoma Baptist (32-5) was trying for its second title in three years. The Bison won it all in 2010. Concordia last won the title in 2003.

"The plane ride home is going to be amazing," Granado said. "I don't think I'm going to get any sleep."

The Eagles (31-7) never showed any signs of panic after everything went wrong for them in the opening four minutes.

"We always talk about poise and defense," Granado said. "As long as we kept our poise and weren't rattled by it, we knew we could come back."

The Eagles caught up quickly thanks to intense defense that led to a flurry of Oklahoma Baptist turnovers. Twelve of the Bison's 15 turnovers came in the first half and Concordia, with Granado doing the bulk of the offensive work, took a 33-31 lead at the break.

That set up a hectic second half in which the Eagles managed to get some breathing room when Cameron Gliddon hit consecutive three-pointers to turn a 51-48 Concordia lead into a nine-point margin.

The Bison battled back down the stretch, but came up short.

"After taking out Shorter (in the semifinals), we knew we could do it," Granado said.

The Eagles had four men in double figures. Point guard Donnell Phifer finished with 14 points, including a critical drive that made it 69-64 with 2:10 remaining and stunted OBU's momentum.

Concordia coach Ken Ammann gathered his team around when it was 16-1 and reminded everyone there was still 36 minutes to go.

"We had a lot of time left and we just said we wanted to chip away and see where we were at halftime," Ammann said. "We hang our hat on defense and we wanted to focus on that."

The Eagles led by six with 2:36 remaining, but Oklahoma Baptist had a final charge and two chances to send the game into overtime.

"They're so tough," Ammann said. "I thought they were going to make one of those threes. I debated fouling with a three-point lead, but we've trusted our defense all year long."

Oklahoma Baptist was forced to play without 6-6 senior forward DeAngelo McIntosh, the Bison's leading rebounder and second-leading scorer. McIntosh suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in Monday's semifinal.

Oklahoma Baptist scored nine points on its opening three possessions, but couldn't keep up the pace.

Wilson, the NAIA men's Player of the Year, thought he was fouled on his final three-point miss and McKay fell to the floor and covered his face when he got the second opportunity and saw his shot bounce off the rim as the horn sounded.

"Our guys really fought hard," Tolin said. "We had a pretty good look there at the end."