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CNU men's basketball team to experience NCAA Division III championship for the first time

The victory, the 14th straight for CNU, advances the Captains to Saturday's title game.
Credit: CNU Athletics

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Christopher Newport University advanced to the Division III Men's Basketball National Championship game on Thursday, winning a hard-fought battle over Swarthmore, 69-66 at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. 

The victory, the 14th straight for CNU, advances the Captains to Saturday's title game.

The Captains will play the winner of the second semifinal Thursday night between Mount Union and Wisconsin-Whitewater.

The team trailed by four at the intermission, 30-26, but surged ahead early in the second half and held off the stubborn Garnet, who finished the season with a 28-4 mark.

Junior All-American Jahn Hines led the way with 22 points and went over the 1,000-point mark for his career during a dominant second half that saw him score 18 points. 

Junior Trey Barber tallied 21 points as the Captains improved to 29-3 on the season. 

Hines also recorded a team-high eight rebounds, while Barber brought down seven and also rejected three shots.

"It's surreal, it really is," Head Coach John Krikorian said following the victory. 

"Such a great battle, exactly what we expected from a terrific team like Swarthmore, and now we get to play for a championship. Our guys just wouldn't be denied."

Christopher Newport out-scored Swarthmore in the second stanza, 43-36, and went ahead 37-34 when sophomore Ty Henderson drained a three-pointer with 16:38 to play.

Hines became the 34th CNU men's player to record 1,000 or more points when he knocked down a fall-away 15-footer midway through the second half. 

The Norfolk native made seven-of-12 shots after halftime after converting just one-of-five in the opening half.

The Captains, who are playing in their seventh-straight NCAA Tournament and 26th all-time, had twice before reached the semifinals, but lost to Benedictine in 2016, and Swarthmore in 2019. 

This marks the second time in the 55-year history of the program the Captains have reached the 29-win mark. CNU registered a 29-4 final record in the 2018-19 season that saw them advance to the National semifinals. 

CNU has once recorded 30 wins, the most ever in program history, in a 30-2 campaign that saw Krikorian's team advance to the Final Four for the first time to conclude the 2015-16 season.

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