Never mind the record winning margin. Coach Mike Bernard's defense was his best offense as North Carolina Central captured its first NCAA Division II basketball championship.

The Eagles, led by Antoine Sifford with 21 points and nine rebounds, smothered Southeast Missouri, 73-46, holding the Indians scoreless from the field for the last 7:58 of the first half.Over the season, the 13th-ranked Eagles were the best defensive team in Division II, holding their opponents to 38 percent shooting.