The Wildcats are on their way home this morning, and IWU is getting ready to welcome them back. (WIWU Photo)

Indiana Wesleyan University is celebrating today as the Wildcats men’s basketball team journeys home from their first-ever NAIA Division II National Championship Victory.

No. 5 Indiana Wesleyan defeated No. 10 Midland (Neb.) 78-68 in the national championship game on Tuesday evening in Keeter Gymnasium in Point Lookout, Missouri. The title game was broadcast on ESPN3.

“I can’t put this into words,” said senior guard Jordan Weidner. “It’s such a reward for all the hard work, all the extra time, all the practices, and all the terrible ice baths. This just makes it all so worth it. And I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys to do it with.”

Congtratulations have been rolling in from all quarters, including personal messages from Indiana Senator Dan Coats and Indiana University head basketball coach Tom Crean.

“Indiana Wesleyan is one of my favorite programs,” Crean said last night on Twitter. Greg Tonagel and his coaches are 1st rate and 1st class. Really happy for them.”

All five Wildcat victories in this 2014 NAIA National Tournament were by double digits. It is the first time any team has accomplished that feat at the NAIA Division II Tournament since its inception in 1992.

“In each game we have come out and said we are going to win this because we will play hard, and we did that,” said freshman Lane Mahurin.

Weidner was named the 2014 Championship Outstanding Player for his performance over the last five games. Weidner averaged 23.0 points per game in Point Lookout while shooting 51.4-percent from the field. He pulled down 4.4 rebounds in the tournament and averaged 5.6 assists. Freshman Lane Mahurin was honored with the NAIA Championship Hustle Award while Tonagel was named the NABC/NAIA Division II Coach of the Year. The Wildcats were also given the Dr. James Naismith/Emil Liston Team Sportsmanship Award.

IWU has scheduled a celebration, complete with fireworks, for 8:00 Wednesday evening in Luckey Arena on the main campus in Marion. The team will return to campus with an escort from IWU Campus Police and the Marion Fire Department.

“I’m just so proud of these guys,” stated Tonagel. “I’m proud of these seniors. I’m humbled by this opportunity that was given to our team. This will be a lifelong memory.”

Quotes and tournament details from Kyle Schmidt.