Bellingham gives WWU Division II champs heroes homecoming

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by AMY MORENO / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 25, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 25 at 6:45 PM

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- The Western Washington University men’s basketball team was greeted with a victory rally as they returned to campus in Bellingham Sunday afternoon. 

The team won their first Division II National Championship Saturday, beating Montevallo 72-65 in a match-up at Northern Kentucky University.

Fans and family members cheered when they saw the bus led by local police arrive on campus.  Players signed basketballs and posed for photos with the National Championship trophy.

Coach Brad Jackson said his team maintained their cool during tournament play.

“We got down 16 to 2 early but I didn't see a hint of panic. It was a mental toughness that pulled these guys through,” said Jackson.

The title gives the university national exposure and could be good for both enrollment and recruiting. 

“Hopefully, it's the beginning of a dynasty incredible ball playing the next few years,” WWU senior Rory Blanche said.

Guard John Allen called the win “surreal.“

"It hasn't really set in what we did,” he said.

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