Men’s basketball wins GSAC title
Winning: Men's basketball coach, David Holmquist cuts down the basketball net at Concordia University in celebration of the winning the GSAC Tournament Championship on March 6, 2012. The Biola Eagles beat the Concordia Eagles with a final score of 81-77. | Tyler Otte/THE CHIMES
The Biola men’s basketball team won their first Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament Championship in program history, defeating top-seeded Concordia University Irvine 81-77 on Tuesday night at the CU Arena.
Biola’s only senior, Davey Hopkins, led all scorers with 21 points, 11 from the free-throw line. Biola, which was ranked No. 19 in the most recent NAIA national poll, improved to 25-8 on the season, recording their 13th win in the last 14 games. Concordia, which was ranked No. 4 in the NAIA poll, falls to a 26-7 record for the season.
Hopkins’ leadership as a team captain shone, especially in the second half when he scored 15 points.
“Davey’s a leader. He comes in and he’s selfless. All he cares about is winning. That’s why it’s easy to play with Davey,” junior Andre Murillo said.
Hopkins also recorded five assists, four rebounds and a pair of steals, while playing in all but two minutes of the game.
Several others add to Hopkins’ big night
Biola’s other stars played solid games as well. Junior Chase Adams finished with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while junior Given Kalipinde contributed on both ends of the floor with 16 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals. Sophomore Zack Zaragoza added 13 points in 27 minutes of playing time, sinking all six of his free throws.
Biola built up a 14-point lead around the midpoint of the first half, but Concordia minimized that deficit in the opening minutes of the second half. With 4:21 remaining in the game, a 3-pointer by GSAC Player of the Year Cameron Gliddon put Concordia up by one at 69-68. However, on the next possession, he committed his fifth foul of the game, sending Hopkins to the line. Hopkins drained both free throws and gave Biola the lead back for good. Two free throws by Adams within the final minute secured the win.
This is the first GSAC tournament title that the men’s team has recorded, but what makes this feat even more impressive is that Biola’s team features no athletes who played from last year: all of them are either freshmen or transfers.
“I feel really good for coach [Holmquist] because he’s never had [a tournament title],” Hopkins said.
For team captain Murillo, the championship meant much more than making Biola history. Two years ago, he had no idea if he was even going to play basketball.
“It’s a great privilege to be on a team to win a GSAC title,” he said. “It’s just such a testimony to the grace of God, not just spiritually, but physically.”
Now ranked No. 10, Biola heads to the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. and will face off against No. 23 Campbellsville University in the first round on Wednesday, March 14. No. 16 Point Loma Nazarene University and Concordia will also represent the GSAC at the tournament.