Nebraska Wesleyan is bringing that trophy back to Lincoln.
The Prairie Wolves men’s basketball team capped off a tremendous season by claiming its first national title as a program.
Wesleyan beat Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Saturday 78-72 in Salem, VA in the NCAA Division III men’s basketball national championship game.
Under the direction of National Coach of the Year Dale Wellman, the Prairie Wolves finished with a school record 30-3 record, knocking off three ranked opponents in the tournament.
In Saturday’s game, it was a three-point shootout with both teams combining for 18 triples. Wesleyan really turned it on in the second half, shooting 6-of-10 from long range while UW-Oshkosh was only 7-of-24.
The Prairie Wolves led 68-58 with 8:27 remaining, but the Titans stormed back to knot the game at 72 with only 2:52 to play.
Sophomore guard and Omaha native Nate Schimonitz found fellow sophomore guard Jack Hiller for a corner three on the ensuing possession. Schimonitz then put the cherry on top with an acrobatic, spinning layup to put his team up five with 32 seconds left.
Junior forward Cooper Cook was named tournament MVP, and led Wesleyan in scoring Saturday with 16 points, going 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Hiller finished with 14 points, going 4-of-6 from downtown. Junior forward and Lincoln native Ryan Garver had 11 points, as did senior forward and Omaha product Deion Wells-Rosseach.
All five Prairie Wolves scored finished in double figures.
NWU set the NCAA DIII tournament record this year with 73 three-pointers made. A campus and community celebration will be held Monday afternoon at Snyder Arena in Lincoln at 3 p.m. central.