The Talladega College Tornadoes did exactly that on Saturday night as they defeated Southern Virginia, 65-56 to win the United States Collegiate Athletic Association’s National Championship for the second straight year.
The Tornadoes got off to a slow start, trailing 11-3 early in the game. TC then went on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to two points. Southern Virginia then extended its lead again, but the Tornadoes kept chipping away and tied the game at 16-16 with a free throw by freshman Phil Wood with 7:06 to go in the first half.
Kenny Irby’s layup with 5:45 to go until halftime gave TC its first lead of the game, 20-19. The Tornadoes took a 35-33 lead into the locker room at intermission.
Southern Virginia was able to tie the game early in the second half, but the Tornadoes continued to make baskets when needed and quickly took the lead for good. The Tornadoes were able to hit free throws when needed to extend their lead. TC shot 85 percent from the charity stripe.
Freshman point guard Phil Wood was named Most Valuable Player for the tournament. The Washington D.C. native had 17 points and nine rebounds in the game on Saturday night.
Irby put on a big show in Pennsylvania on Saturday, netting 23 points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes of play. Kerry Harvis added nine points for the Tornadoes.
Harvis was named to the All-Tournament team. Micah Hagens and Ramondo Banks both chipped in six points for TC.