FINAL SCORE: #1 University of Maine Fort Kent 84, #4 Illinois Tech 85
RECORDS: University of Maine Fort Kent 23-9; Illinois Tech 22-5
LOCATION: Penn State Fayette Main Arena, Uniontown, Pa.
IN BRIEF: In a double overtime thriller that saw 11 lead changes, #4 Illinois Institute of Technology overcame an 18 point deficit to upset the top seeded University of Maine Fort Kent Bengals 85-84 to advance to the Men's Division I National Championship game.
ON THE COURT
- Illinois Tech faced an 18 point deficit with 14:29 remaining in the game. Samuel Rarick led the comeback, scoring eight of the Scarlet Hawks next 20 points to cut the lead to ten with six and half minutes to play.
- Over the last ten minutes of the game, Illinois Tech drained seven three-pointers to wipe away the Bengals lead and send the game into overtime.
- Rarick got an offensive rebound with under 30 seconds remaining and sank a game-tying three-pointer to force the first overtime period.
- The Bengals converted four free throws in the closing minutes of the first overtime to send the game to double overtime.
- The second overtime period only saw a combined seven points from both sides. Malik Howze of Illinois Tech gave his team the one point lead with seven seconds remaining to set up a final possession for University of Maine-Fort Kent.
- The Bengals were fouled attempting a three on the final possession with 0.8 seconds remaining, but couldn't convert on their foul shots allowing Illinois Tech to secure the improbable victory.
BEHIND THE BOXSCORE
- University of Maine Fort Kent's Joe McCloskey had a team highs of 26 points and 10 rebounds. His state line included two clutch free-throws with 38 seconds left in the first overtime period to force a second.
- Travis Harlin Jr. and Rosevelt Smith Jr. each had double digit scoring nights for the Bengals. Harlin Jr. had 14 points and five rebounds while Smith Jr. went for 20 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.
- Malik Howze of the Scarlet Hawks had a game-high 27 points on 10-20 shooting from the floor and 7-13 from behind the arc. The sophomore also dished out nine assists in the game.
- Jake Digiorgio of Illinois Tech came off the bench to score 10 points and secure 15 rebounds.
- Rarick scored 22 points in the game and went 4-4 from three point range during the Scarlet Hawks' second half comeback.
- As a team, the Scarlet Hawks shot 38% from behind the arc and 41% from the field. They tallied 17 second chance points compared to just six for University of Maine-Fort Kent.
Illinois Tech advances to the Men's Division I National Championship game where they will face #2 Concordia College of Alabama. The championship game is set to tip off at 12:30 P.M. EST in Main Arena. University of Maine Fort Kent finishes the year with a 23-9 record, marking one of their best seasons in program history.