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Trine University men’s basketball makes program history

(Provided Photo/Trine men's basketball via X)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WISH) — The Trine University men’s basketball program capped off a memorable season in the best way possible on Saturday.

The Thunder beat Hampden-Sydney College (Va.) 69-61 in the NCAA Division III National Championship Game.

It’s the first NCAA championship in the program’s history.

“There’s just something about this team that’s been super special,” said Trine head coach Brooks Miller.

Trine found itself trailing 25-23 at halftime, but came out in the second half to outscore Hampden-Sydney 46-36 in the game’s final 20 minutes.

Guard Cortez Garland led the Thunder in scoring with 22 points in the victory.

“I’m just so proud and thankful that we were able to come together and do it at the right time,” Garland said. “Taking our lumps and staying the course.”

Three other players on the Thunder scored in double-digits: Nate Tucker (13), Aidan Smylie (12), and Drew Moore (10).

Miller said after that game that he noticed a “constant growth” in the Thunder throughout the season.

“They’ve worked so hard,” Miller said. “And they’re so confident in their work and what they do that we just took it one game at a time – I know as cliche as that is – but these guys, one practice at a time. What do we need to today to get better? What can we improve on?”

The Thunder finished the season with a 29-4 overall record.

“It’s awesome to be a national champion,” said Miller.

The victory was witnessed by 4,546 fans inside of Fort Wayne’s Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. It was an attendance record for a NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship game.