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Courtesy of Lakeshore Foundation
The Alabama Crimson Tide had a shot at two national championships today at the National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament at Lakeshore Foundation, they returned home to Tuscaloosa Saturday night with one. The men’s team defeated the University of Texas-Arlington 71-52 to win its first national championship for the men’s program.
Bama took an early 5-0 lead, but UTA battled back to tie the game at 12. With 5:29 left in the first half, Alabama would make a run and build a significant lead at halftime, 38-25. But UTA mounted a huge comeback in the second half, closing the gap to 5 points with 10:42 left and coming within 2 points with 7:22 left. Then with four minutes left in the game, the Tide was ignited by a 3-point shot from Jared Arambula. He would also sink another 3-pointer and score two points off the fast break that put Alabama up 65-52 with 2:15 to go. That run sealed the championship win for Bama. Arambula finished with 21 points and Mark Booth added 18, both Ryan Hynes and Kyle Killworth had 10 points. For UTA, Jorge Sanchez led scorers with 18 points. Andreas Kraft and Jan Gans had 12 points each.
In the day’s other national championship game, the Alabama women’s team took on defending champion, Wisconsin-Whitewater. The Warhawks took an 11-6 lead early in the first half and built a 10-point lead, 29-19 with 1:18 to play. Whitewater would maintain a sizeable lead at halftime, 31-23. In the second half, the Alabama women would cut Whitewater’s lead to 4 points with 14:30 left to play. But the Warhawks would continue to build their lead off the strong shooting of Becca Murray. Whitewater had their largest lead of the game, 56-39 with under two minutes to play. The final was Whitewater 56, Alabama 41. The Warhawks finished their season with a perfect 27-0 record, and have now won back-to-back national championships. Becca Murray led Whitewater in scoring with 28 points and Mareike Adermann had 11 points.
Also in men’s play today, in probably the most exciting game of the day, Wisconsin-Whitewater defeated Illinois 70-69 to win third place in the tournament. Illinois led the entire game, but the Warhawks came back to win it at the end.