There is plenty to be excited about for BJU Bruins basketball as both the men’s and women’s teams won regional championship titles.
The men’s team finished the regular season with an overall record of 12-18 and 4-3 in conference games.
The men’s team was the No. 1 overall seed in the
NCCAA Division II South Regional Tournament hosted by BJU last weekend.
During the final half of the season, the men’s team went on an impressive eight-game winning streak, including three wins over NCCAA rivals including Toccoa Falls College, Piedmont International University and Pensacola Christian College.
The NCCAA Division II South Regional Tournament started last Thursday, but the Bruins didn’t play their first game until Friday when they faced off against Trinity Baptist College.
The Bruins ultimately defeated Trinity Baptist 81-67 and made it to the South Regional Championship Game to play the Trinity College Tigers.
Some other highlights from the regular season included Marshall Riddle scoring his 1,000th career point as a Bruin and the Bruins’ 89-62 rout of PCC at home.
During last week’s semifinal against Trinity Baptist, Dustin Killough also recorded his 1,000th career point as a Bruin.
The Bruins women’s team also had an exciting last half of the regular season.
The women’s team finished the regular season with a 13-17 record and 7-2 in conference play this season.
The Bruins women’s team had some struggles earlier this season as the team lost three starters at the beginning of the semester.
“We adjusted,” coach Mike LeViere said. “We have nine freshmen and three sophomores.”
Despite losing three starters, LeViere said he’s seen some of the younger players step up their game.
“Kylee Leffew has really blossomed into a basketball player,” LeViere said. “Rachel Clark has helped us with her knowledge of the game.”
Some of the notable games for the women’s team included beating PCC at home in what LeViere said was “maybe the best defensive game we’ve played” and beating Columbia International University in two games this season.
LeViere also said the Bruins’ loss to Vorhees College was a good game for the team because they played well as a team despite losing.
The biggest impact leaders for the women’s team this season were seniors Hannah Tompkins and Sha’Ron Brunson, LeViere said.
Leviere said Tompkins did a great job in both team leadership and with her stats.
“She leads on and off the court,”LeViere said.
Throughout last week, the women’s team was preparing for their own South Regional Tournament.
LeViere said the final regular season game against Johnson & Wales was a good test for the Bruins.
“We played a really tough team, and we were competing with them,” LeViere said.
The team’s practice time also tapered off as preparation for the tournament, and the team started watching films of their opponents to scout them.
The women’s team entered the regional tournament as the No. 3 seed and handily defeated sixth-seeded Piedmont International University 88-29 to advance to the semifinals.
In the semifinals, the women’s team played Trinity College and won 78-64 to advance to the South Regional Championship Game.
For the men’s regional championship game, the Bruins narrowly edged the Trinity College Tigers 68-65 to capture the program’s first ever men’s basketball regional tournament championship title.
The women’s team also won their first ever regional championship by defeating rival PCC 79-69 in an exciting game.
Both teams are hopeful as they are now headed to the NCCAA Division II National Tournament which will be held in Ankeny, Iowa, on March 9 through March 11.
The men’s team will play the Randall University Saints on Thursday, March 9, at 6 p.m., and the women’s team will play Maranatha Baptist University that same day at 4 p.m.
Both teams must win their games in order to stay alive in the tournament. A loss by either team will eliminate them from contending for a spot in the national championship game.