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March Madness: Minnesota State’s Kyreese Willingham hits wild game-winning 3-pointer in D II championship game

March 30th, 2024

Minnesota State won both the men’s and women’s Division II national championships this spring, something that hasn’t happened in 40 years. (Julien Bacot/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kyreese Willingham landed one of the best game-winning shots of the month on Saturday afternoon, and it gave Minnesota State its second national championship in as many days.

Willingham perfectly drilled a contested corner 3-pointer with less than a second left on the clock to break a tie with reigning national champions Nova Southeastern. That pushed the Mavericks to an 88-85 win at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana — which gave them their first DivisionI I national title in program history.

The Minnesota State women’s team, after entering their tournament as a No. 7 seed in the Central Region of their tournament, beat Texas Woman’s University 89-73 to win their second-ever national championship on Friday night. The university is now the first school to sweep both D II title games since Central Missouri pulled it off in 1984.

The Mavericks opened the second half on a 10-0 run after entering the break down by two, though Nova Southeastern — which was the highest-scoring team in the country this season — took the lead on a 13-0 burst late in the fourth quarter. Willingham put them up by four with a layup with just more than two minutes left, but both Shane Hunter and MJ Iraldi responded with buckets of their own to tie the game up before Willingham’s final shot.

Justin Eagins led the Mavericks with 17 points and six rebounds on Saturday, and Willingham finished with 12 points. His brother, Malik Willingham, also had 12 points in the win and made the final steal to set up Kyreese’s game-winning shot — which was just the second he made from behind the arc all day.

The Minnesota State men went 35-2 this season under head coach Matt Margenthaler, though they barely made it into the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament after sneaking out a one-point win over Northwest Missouri State in the central regional final. The Mavericks then beat Ferris State by nearly 30 points in the Elite Eight before beating West Texas A&M 79-72 in the semifinals to set up a battle with Nova Southeastern on Saturday.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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