Concordia defeated No. 24-ranked Arizona Christian 112-111 in a hard-fought double-overtime game to win the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament Championship at CU Arena on the campus of Concordia in Irvine, Tuesday night.
For the first time in conference history the game was live on Fox College Sports, as the Concordia Eagles won their sixth tournament championship and first in two years in front of a capacity crowd.
The No. 4-seed Concordia scored 36 points in two overtimes while missing only two shots as they went an impressive 12-for-14 (.857) from the field, including three-for-three from the arch, and 9-for-14 (.643) at the charity stripe. Tim Harris scored 14 points in the two extra periods for the Eagles. No. 3-seed GSAC newcomer Arizona Christian also shot well, shooting 13-for-20 (.650) in field goals, including five-for-eight (.625) from the three-point arc, and four-for-six (.667) at the line. Talib Uqdah scored 22, of his game-high 43 points in the two overtimes, with seven field goals, including four three-pointers, and four free throws.
The Eagles were led in the opening frame with 10 points from Tim Harris and nine by Alex Rudd to take a 36-34 lead into halftime, while the Firestorm had nine points each from Uqdah and Jordan Block.
Harris continued his scoring with nine of his 14 second-half points in a little over a three-minute span as Concordia reached its biggest lead, an 11-point margin at 54-43, with 13 minutes left in regulation. The Firestorm chipped away at the lead and tied the game with two minutes remaining, before trading free throws with the Eagles to end regulation tied at 76.
In the first overtime, each team only committed one turnover scoring on nearly every possession. In fact from the 2:20 mark with Arizona Christian up 87-86, neither team missed a basket on seven consecutive possessions, knotting the score at 94 to go to another overtime.
Just over two minutes into the second overtime, the Firestorm took its largest lead of the game at 105-100. Within 30 seconds, the Eagles quickly responded with two made free throws by Harris and a three-pointer by DeLaun Frazier for the tenth tie score of the contest. In the second extra frame both teams continued flawless play as only one turnover was committed.
With the score tied again at 108, Peter Smith hit a shot from beyond the arc for Concordia. Arizona Christian answered with its own three-pointer by Daniel Cornelius to tie the game for the twelfth and final time. The Firestorm missed a shot, Harris grabbed the rebound, and was fouled shortly after. He made the second of the two free throws with four seconds remaining to seal the win for Concordia, and Arizona Christian could not make a its final attempt from three-point range ending the game with the 112-111 final score.
Tim Harris led Concordia with a career-high 38 points while shooting 12-for-18 (.667) from the field, including four-for-five from three-point range, and 10-for-13 (.769) at the line. Dakota Downs was 9-for-16 (.563) from the field for 25 points and 11 boards, his 15th double-double of the season. Peter Smith added another double-double with 13 points and 10 assists, and Alex Rudd also scored 13, hitting two threes. DeLaun Frazier chipped in 12 points off the bench, including three three-pointers.
Arizona Christian was led by Talib Uqdah with a game-high 43 points and 9 rebounds. For the game he shot, 15-for-30 (.500) from the field, including 8-for-17 (.471) from three-point range. Jordan Block notched a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Concordia garnered the GSAC's automatic bid to the 2012-13 NAIA Div. I Men's Basketball National Championship in Kansas City, Missouri, March 13-19. The Eagles improved to 22-10 on the year, while Arizona Christian dropped to 20-9. Both teams find out their NAIA Tournament fates at 5:00 pm (Pacific time) when the brackets are announced with a free graphical selection show at www.naia.org.