NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – The Christopher Newport University men’s basketball team will play for its first-ever national championship after a 69-66 win Thursday over Swarthmore in the Division III national semifinals in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

CNU will play Mount Union of Ohio, who defeated Wisconsin-Whitewater in the second semifinal, 83-79.

“It’s surreal, it really is,” coach John Krikorian said. “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, and I think we showed in the second half what we’re made of.”

The No. 2 ranked Captains got 22 points and eight rebounds from Norfolk-native Jahn Hines – who reached the 1,000-point mark in the second half on a contested, 10-foot fadeaway – and 21 points from Trey Barber in the win to reach the national championship game for the first time, but they didn’t get there without some tense last-second moments, as they missed four-straight free throws that could have iced the game.

Instead, it left the Garnet with a final chance, going the length of the court before Vinny DeAngelo missed a running 3-pointer at the buzzer, as it went off the back of the rim.

Though CNU, until now, had never reached the national championship game, they are no strangers to success in the NCAA tournament, playing in their seventh-straight NCAA Tournament and 26th all-time. The Captains have also reached the national semifinals three times in the past six years.

The win even got the attention of Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

CNU, which has won 14 in a row, was 25-for-58 from the field (43.1%) and 4-for-14 (28.6%) from beyond the arc. Swarthmore was 21-for-58 from the field (36.2%), made 7-of-24 3-pointers and was perfect at the line (17-for-17).

The Captains trailed by as many as seven points in the first half, and trailed 30-26 at the break. They took a lead at the 18:34 mark of the second half on Ty Henderson’s 3-pointer to go up 33-32.

It was a one-possession game for much of the second half, with CNU leading by as many as nine with under five minutes remaining.

Swarthmore (28-4) was able to close to within two points with 2:19 remaining on DeAngelo’s 3-pointer, and it tied the game on a pair of DeAngelo free throws with 1:46 to go.

Barber then made a pair of free throws on the Captains’ next possession, and after DeAngelo, who led his team with 23 points on 7-for-23 shooting, missed a 3-pointer, Hines made a pair of free throws to go up 68-64 with 1:19 left.

Swarthmore’s George Corzine made a layup to close the deficit to two, but Ty Henderson made 1-of-2 free throws with 26 seconds left to put the Captains up 69-66.

Christopher Newport (29-3) had a chance to seal the victory at the free throw line, but Hines, a first-team Division III District 6 selection and All-Region pick, missed a pair, as did Barber, but DeAngelo’s miss at the buzzer ended the national semifinal in the Captains’ favor, allowing them to advance to their first-ever national title game.

The Captains’ will be playing for the school’s third national title in any sport in the past 16 months, with the women’s soccer and softball teams winning national championships during the 2021-2022 academic year. The undefeated and top-ranked CNU women’s basketball team still has a chance for its own national title, as it plays in the Division III national semifinals Saturday.

See the full replay of Christopher Newport’s men’s basketball team’s national semifinal win.