SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Led by Sam Smith's 28 points and 9 rebounds, Kentucky Wesleyan overpowered Gannon, 92-74, to win the NCAA Division II men's basketball tournament Saturday night.
The victory gave Kentucky Wesleyan its fifth national championship, tying the record set by Evansville, now a Division I team.
Kentucky Wesleyan raced to a 24-point lead with 3:32 left in the first half, while holding Gannon scoreless for seven minutes. Smith, named the tournament's most valuable player, had 13 points during the Panthers' drive.
Kentucky Wesleyan (27-5) held the margin and went into the locker room ahead, 51-27. The Panthers then extended their lead to 33 points, 66-33, with two minutes gone in the second half and Gannon (28-6) was never able to cut it to less than 14 points.
The winning margin was the largest in the tournament championship since Evansville defeated Chapman, 90-69, in 1960.