The momentum seemed to be in UR’s favor. The Yellowjackets held a nine point lead with under 10 minutes to go in the 2005 NCAA Divison III semifinal game.

Sophomore Tim Brackney, emerging late in the season as a dangerous offensive threat, scored seven points, forcing the Calvin College Knights to take a timeout, trailing 52-43.

All season long, the Yellowjackets wore teams down in the second half with strong half-court defense, efficient offense and rebounding.

Despite this laudable record, UR surrendered its lead as the Knights went on an 18-4 run to take a five point lead, 61-56, with 4:35 remaining.

Strong defense and senior leadership proved to be the Yellowjacket’ssaving grace once again.

With a trip to the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship on the line, UR battled back into the game by limiting the Knights to one point in the last four minutes.

Tied at 62, UR’s season came down to one possession. The crowd was on its feet with just 24 seconds left in the Division III semifinals, and possession belonged to UR.

Senior Gabe Perez passed the ball inside to fellow senior and All-American Seth Hauben.

The Knights’ defense collapsed on Hauben, forcing him to dish it back out to Perez.

Perez passed to senior Brendan McAllister, who was tucked away in the far corner near UR’s bench.

With a player in his face, McAllister sank the game-winning three-pointer from National Basketball Association range with only 4.7 seconds on the clock.

UR’s bench exploded as the final buzzer went off, sending the team to the national championship game in heroic fashion, beating the Knights 65-62.

Hauben led the Yellowjackets with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Brackney finished with 13 points, three assists and one steal in his 24 minutes off the bench.

McAllister and Perez each scored 12 points. Perez also added seven rebounds, six assists and five steals.

The stage was set. UR would play the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, the No. 1 team in the country, for the national championship.

The Yellowjackets would have their hands full against the defending national champion Pointers.

The Yellowjackets took the court at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va. with determination. They had the support of hundreds of fans in their corner.

However, Stevens Point proved to be the better team on Saturday. The Pointers took command in the second half to down UR 73-49.

The score of the game wasn’t indicative of UR’s play. The Yellowjackets trailed only by three at halftime.

Stevens Point came out in the second half and played their best basketball of the season.

The Knights shot 64 percent from the floor in the second half.

Despite the lopsided victory margin, the Yellowjackets played hard and with pride for the remaining 20 minutes of the 2005 NCAA Division III championship.

The men’s team finished second in the nation with a record of 25-5.

Losing a championship game is always tough for a team to swallow, but the Yellowjackets had no reason to hang their heads.

They made their coaches, families and fans proud. It was quite a sight to see the standing ovation the players received – an ovation in appreciation for their hard work and success the whole season.

Congratulations to Head Coach Mike Neer, his excellent coaching staff and the 2005 men’s basketball team for a memorable season.

Rovinsky can be reached at mrovinsky@campustimes.org.



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