Thirty-six teams. Hundreds of games. One ultimate winner.
Now the off-season is set for all 36 Division II NCCAA teams. Players and coaches are dialing in looking to become 2023’s “one winner.”
As the league girds for the coming season, here’s a look back at some unforgettable moments from 2022.
The NCCAA Tip-Off Classic:
Boyce College hosted the Division II NCCAA Tip-Off Classic this year. Here is a recap of the games.
Boyce College vs Toccoa Falls
The Bulldogs took on Toccoa Falls in their first home game of the season. The game took off with two high-powered offensive teams going at it. By halftime, Toccoa had cut into that lead as the Bulldogs went into the locker room up 44-39.
The second half was much of the same. The two teams seemed to score at will as if it were an NBA All-Star game. Bulldogs coach Michael McCarty recalled: “It was early in the year. This meant little scouting of the other teams, and a lot of scoring.”
Early in the second half, the Bulldogs built a nine-point lead, but that would not hold. Toccoa kept coming at the Bulldogs and was able to hit some shots late.
The Bulldogs were down one under a minute. “It was intense,” coach McCarty added. “Both teams were kicking off with hopes for a good season. The crowd was packed and the atmosphere was electric.”
Toccoa had to inbound it from the sideline with only two seconds on the shot clock. They hit a desperation three-point heave that put them up four. The Bulldogs fell short 95-91 in a game that featured 18 lead changes and nine ties.
Boyce College vs Trinity Baptist College
The Bulldogs took on Trinity Baptist as a redemption game.
Boyce came out slow and had difficulty getting the offense going early. McCarty commented “The guys were too stuck on the loss from the prior day.” Trinity jumped to an early 11-point lead with 14 minutes left in the half.
However, the Bulldogs would not go away.
Coach McCarty called a timeout. He told his team: “we came out flat. We have no energy. Pressure their guards hard, we need an attacking mentality. It is time to wake up and lock in.”
Over the next 15 minutes, the Bulldogs engineered a 21-point swing. They went into halftime up 35-25, holding Trinity to 35% from the field in the first half.
In the second half, the Bulldogs built the lead to 17 points with just under 10 minutes to go. Throughout the rest of the game, the Bulldogs were able to convert 20 Trinity turnovers into 23 points. This helped them hold onto a 75-61 win.
Faith Baptist College vs. Calvary University
The Faith Baptist Eagles came out scorching against the Calvary Warriors. The Eagles led for all but 10 seconds in the first half.
But the Warriors made their charge late in the game, taking their first lead of the second half with 4:35 to play. And leading by 4 with 3:59 left, putting the Eagles' hopes of a road win in serious jeopardy.
A pair of three-point baskets late in the contest and some clutch free throws brought the Eagles back and put them over the top for the win. Freshman guard Seth Freeman hit a timely three-pointer with 3:22 remaining to cut the deficit to one.
Following Freeman's bomb, 6-foot-7 junior Kalab Sidlinger hit a three-pointer of his own with 1:15 left to give the lead back to the Eagles.
The Eagles sealed the victory at the free throw line, connecting on four-of-six free throws in the final 49 seconds. A three-point jumper by the Warriors at the buzzer wasn’t enough, Faith prevailed, 70-69.
A Emmaus Bible College: Road to Regionals
The Emmaus Eagles flew high after claiming the program's first-ever NCCAA Regional Championship. Here is a recap of their road:
Regional Quarterfinal vs. Oak Hills Christian College
Freshman Tyler Buckner saved the Eagles in their first tournament game with a layup that extended regulation into overtime.
The Eagles used stellar defense through the overtime period, leading to a 10-4 run. Junior Dylan Anderson had 12 points while shooting at a 50 percent clip from beyond the arc. Freshman Nashon Harper had 31 points. Their performances helped the Eagles fly to a narrow 80-74 overtime victory.
Regional Championship vs. Faith Baptist Bible College
Emmaus entered the championship game facing a familiar opponent. The Eagles faced the Faith Eagles for the fourth time in two months and for a second time in eight days.
After losing the first two matchups of the year, along with a wake-up call in the regional quarterfinal, Emmaus was looking to even the season series and advance to the NCCAA Division II National Championship for the first time in program history.
The Eagles had their loyal fanbase make the two-hour trip. The fans roared with chants of “DEE-Fense.”
Sophomore Tyrus Buckner was a factor all night, scoring at ease with 28 points and 19 rebounds.
Zach Scholl and Dylan Anderson did their best “Splash Brothers” imitation, with six and nine points from downtown, respectively.
6-foot-5 Sophomore guard Steven Petkau literally rose to the occasion, leading the team with five blocked shots.
Quan Patterson’s three-pointer at the buzzer punctuated the win and gave the student section its cue to flood the court.
The Eagles claimed their first ever regional championship, 69-62. Moreover, they carried a five-game winning streak to the NCCAA National Championship Tournament.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider making a tax deductible donation. College Basketball Times is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to equal coverage for all levels of college hoops - including NCCAA. The operation of this site is made possible through your generous donations.