NORTH CANTON, Ohio — The wait was longer than anyone wanted, but the road to a national championship will once again go through North Canton.
Walsh defeated in-state rival Cedarville 76-62 Saturday to win the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament. It's the Cavaliers' third such title in four years and earns them an automatic berth in their second NCAA tournament since moving up to Division II more than a decade ago.
Green native Garrison Keesler led top-seeded Walsh (23-6) with 18 points, six rebounds, and five assists while Lakewood's Tim Smith Jr. scored 16. The Cavs shot a crisp 59% from the field.
Braden Maughmer and Kollin Van Horn each had 12 points for Cedarville (19-12). The No. 6 seed Yellow Jackets upset Ashland and Hillsdale to reach the finals, but made only 39% of their shots.
Walsh made its first D-II tourney appearance in 2019 and clinched another bid the next year, but the event was abruptly canceled by COVID-19. The 2021 tournament was also scrubbed due to health concerns.
The Cavaliers will find out their first-round opponent when the bracket is released Sunday at 10:30 p.m.
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