2019 NJCAA DI Men's Basketball Championship March 18-23, 2019 | Hutchinson Sports Arena | Hutchinson, KS

Vincennes captures first men's basketball title since 1972

For the fourth time in school history, Vincennes (IN) cut the nets at Hutch! The Trailblazers held off a strong second-half effort by Ranger (TX) to claim the 2019 NJCAA DIvision I Men's Basketball Championship title 87-77, the program's first championship since 1972. Saturday's national title game was televised live on national television via the CBS Sports Network for the first time in NJCAA history.

Vincennes got off to a scorching start, connecting on eight of 10 three-point shots in the first half on its way to 50 points in the opening 20 minutes of action.

Dominating the first 20 minutes of play, Vincennes knocked down eight of 10 three-point attempts while connecting on 64.5% of its field goal attempts in the opening frame.

Despite the early deficit, Ranger would not go down without a fight. In the second half, Ranger's efforts to close the gap were led by long-range shooting and defensive rebounding.

A late rally brought the Rangers within five with just 00:30 left to play. The Trailblazers pulled away by going 5-6 at the charity stripe to secure their national title win.

Vincennes' Kevin Osawe (right) was named the William French Most Valuable Player of the Tournament. The freshman forward posted a game-high 22-points in the title win over Ranger, including four of the Trailblazer's 10 total 3's.

Tournament MVP Kevin Osawe surrounded by teammates following Vincennes' national title.

Todd Franklin, Vincennes' head coach, was named the Coach of the Tournament. Franklin coached the Trailblazers to their first national title in 47 years and ended the season with a 34-2 record. Franklin also eclipsed the 600-win mark for his career after a quarterfinal victory.

Todd Franklin was named the Coach of the Tournament after guiding Vincennes to the national title.
Ranger's Keyshaad Dixon was honored with the Bud Obee Outstanding Small Player Award after finishing in the top three in both assists and steals throughout the tournament. The Bud Obee Award is given to a player 6'1" or shorter who displays good character, leadership, and loyalty to his fellow players and coaches.

Vincennes won all four games of the 2019 tournament by an average of 11.6 PPG. The Trailblazers' highest scoring offensive output came in the title game with the team's 87-point effort. As a team, Vincennes tallied 32 three-point shots in the tournament.

On the path to the national title game, the third-seeded Trailblazers downed No. 14 Moberly Area, No. 6 Odessa, and second-seeded and defending national champs South Plains (TX).

Sophomore guard Keith Clemons (5) averaged a respectable 14.3 PPG and led all players throughout the tournament with 21 assists to land on the All-Tournament Team.

The title marks the fourth in team history for a program that claims the most appearances at the historic men's basketball national tournament in Hutchinson. The Trailblazers improve to 66-50 all-time at the tournament, tied for the most wins with Moberly Area (MO). The four national titles are tied for the most all-time for one program with Moberly Area and San Jacinto-Central (TX).

Jaren English (left) averaged a team-best 16.0 PPG to lead Ranger to the national runner-up trophy. English, an All-Tournament Team selection, totaled 64 points in the team's four games, the fourth-most in the tournament.

After scoring just a total of 18 points in the team's first three games, Ranger's Jonathan Jackson erupted for 21 points in the championship game to earn a spot on the All-Tournament Team with English.

Coryon Mason (16) and Brayan Au (12) reached double-figures in the title game for Ranger to help carry the team to its best season in program history.

After defeating Cleveland State, the No. 24-seeded Cinderalla team, Ranger upset top-seeded Northwest Florida State in the quarterfinals before downing No. 4 Coffeyville to earn a spot in the title game, the program's first-ever appearance in the national championship. Led by head coach Billy Gillispie, the Rangers finished the 2019 campaign with a record of 31-4.

Cleveland State made its first-ever appearance at the national tournament in 2019. The Cougars made their mark on Hutch history when they became the first No. 24 seeded team to win a game at the NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship by defeating No. 9 Casper 90-83 in the first round.

The tournament saw a total of seven upsets from lower-seeded teams, including three on the opening day of action from Cleveland State, No. 17 Cape Fear (NC), and No. 20 Kaskaskia.

2019 NJCAA DI Men's Basketball Championship Photo Gallery

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