#1 NSU Falls at Buzzer in NCAA National Championship

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Heartbreaking. The only word to describe the ending of the top-ranked Nova Southeastern Sharks pursuit of back-to-back NCAA Division II National Championship. In a battle of the two highest ranked teams in Division II, NSU fell to the second-ranked Minnesota State, Mankato Mavericks 88-85 at the final buzzer on Saturday afternoon at the Ford Center.

Records: No. 1 Nova Southeastern 32-3 | No. 2 Minnesota State, Mankato 35-2
Score: No. 1 Nova Southeastern 85 | No. 2 Minnesota State, Mankato 88
Location: Ford Center | Evansville, IN.
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How it Happened
First Half – The Sharks got off to a blazing start in the title game, opening the contest on a 12-2 run as Ryker Cisarik, MJ Iraldi, Isaiah Fuller and Ryan Walsh all contributed early. A few moments later, Cisarik knocked down his second three-pointer of the game, putting the Sharks ahead 15-7. Back-to-back buckets from Ryan Davis and Fuller extended NSU’s advantage to 19-9. The Mavericks cut the Nova Southeastern lead to five points after a pair of baskets from Dylan Peeters but Trey Doomes continued to hold MSU at bay with a made lay-up of his own, putting the score at 23-16. The Mavericks took their first lead of the game with less than seven minutes remaining in the half, as the score sat at 28-27 at the under eight media timeout. Both the Sharks and Mavericks traded baskets back-and-forth for the remainder of the half, but NSU went into halftime holding a 40-38 lead following another bucket from Doomes.

Second Half – Following the break, Minnesota State hit each of their first four shots and began the half on a 12-0 run, turning the tide in the game. The Mavericks continued to hold the momentum in the early minutes of the second half, taking a 59-49 lead over the Sharks. Midway through the second half, and trailing by double digits, Nova Southeastern rallied for a 13-0 run tying the game at 71-71 on a second-chance bucket by Iraldi. The final seven minutes of the title game were among the most competitive across all levels of collegiate basketball, as the top two teams in Division II traded baskets back-and-forth with the national championship in the balance. Iraldi scored eight consecutive points for the Sharks, giving NSU an 81-80 lead with 2:37 remaining. Trailing 85-83, Iraldi knocked down another clutch bucket for NSU with just over a minute left in the game. Minnesota State held the ball for the final possession and as the clock wound down on the game, with just one second left, the Mavericks hit the national championship winning three-pointer, ending the game 88-85.

What's Next
Nova Southeastern Men’s Basketball thanks the five Shark seniors – Isaiah Fuller, Mike Moore, Trey Doomes, GianFranco Grafals, and Shane Hunter – for their contributions to the program throughout their career. The NSU Men’s Basketball season has come to an end, over the last three seasons, Head Coach Jim Crutchfield has guided the Sharks to a 99-4 record, three Sunshine State Conference regular season and tournament titles, three NCAA South Region championships, three NCAA Division II Elite Eight appearances, a national finalist finish and the 2022-23 NCAA Division II National Championship.

To stay up-to-date on Sharks Men’s Basketball throughout the off-season, be sure to follow on Instagram & X at NSU_MBasketball.  

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