The Johnson University Royals capped off the NCCAA DII Mid-East Regional Tournament at 3:30 on Saturday with a game against the Great Lakes Christian College Crusaders
The two teams have an almost identical play style and that was evident at many points in the game. The teams were neck and neck for the vast majority of game time, with 12 lead changes and 8 ties. With just over 8 minutes remaining, Johnson took their biggest lead of the half at 23-16. The Crusaders would battle on, though, going on a huge run that would see them to halftime with a lead of 40-32.
In the second half, the Royals were able to fight back through dogged determination and clutch baskets. With 9:00 left in the game, Johnson trailed the Crusaders by 10 points. From this point, Johnson would go on a 19-2 run highlighted by great team play and excellent defense. Six different Johnson players were able to contribute points during the run. Taylor Gilpin (SR/Bloomington, IN) hit two free throws with 24 seconds left to put Johnson up by 10 and out of reach of the Crusaders. The Royals went on to win, 84-78.
This is the first regional title for Johnson University since 2006, and first under Head Coach Brandon Perry. This was also the final basketball game scheduled to be played in the Philips-Welshimer Gymnasium.
The Johnson Players of the Game are Taylor Gilpin (17 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals) and Coby Jones (SO/Hampton, TN) (19 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.) Both players were selected to the all-tournament team, and Coby Jones was the tournament MVP.
Coach Brandon Perry had a few comments after the game:
Many of the players agreed to interviews as well:
Courtesy of johnsonroyals.com