|12th-ranked EMCC falls 72-58 to Navarro (TX) in NJCAA tourney quarterfinals|
HUTCHINSON, Kan. –- The 12th-ranked Lions of East Mississippi fell victim to a hot-shooting Navarro (TX) club in dropping a 72-58 quarterfinal-round decision Wednesday night in the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship being played at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
Staying in the championship bracket of the double-elimination tournament due to Tuesday’s 86-65 first-round win over Brunswick (NC), the 27-6 EMCC Lions will take on fifth-ranked Northwest Florida State College Thursday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. A video stream broadcast of the contest will be available via the Internet by logging onto www.njcaa.org/tv. Falling to Three Rivers (MO), 83-73, in its quarterfinal-round contest, Northwest Florida State is led by Mississippi State signee Brian Bryant, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard.
East Mississippi jumped out of the gates with a quick 8-0 lead two minutes into the contest and went up by a dozen points (15-3) with 15:47 remaining in the half. The momentum of the game began to change with the Bulldogs hitting the offensive boards for numerous put-back opportunities. In addition to benefitting from second-chance points, Navarro also started to heat up from the perimeter late in the half. During a 21-7 Navarro run midway through the first half, sophomore guard Darian Thibodeaux nailed three 3-pointers and a pull-up jumper.
With Navarro owning a slim 38-35 halftime lead, Thibodeaux’s tip-in basket ignited a 16-4 Navarro run early in the second half, which included four more treys by the 6-foot-2 sharpshooter during a four-minute span. Thibodeaux finished with a career-high 30 points, including 8-of-15 accuracy from beyond the arc.
After Navarro’s run made it a 12-point contest (59-47) midway through the closing period, a Terence Bennett driving basket temporarily cut the deficit to single digits with 6:48 left. By that time, however, the Bulldogs maintained control of the contest and finished off their 13th consecutive win and 30th victory of the season with the 14-point triumph.
Fellow sophomore Matt Pressey, son of former NBA player Paul Pressey, added 20 points for the winners. As a team, Navarro hit 10-of-25 shots from the three-point arc for the game, while out-rebounding EMCC by a 41-34 margin. The Bulldogs also pulled down 19 offensive rebounds in the contest.
Making a school-first appearance in the men’s national tournament, EMCC was led by Deonte Alexander’s 17 points. Fellow freshman Marino Thompson was the only other Lion player in double figures with 10 points.
Fans are able to follow this week’s NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship by visiting to access official brackets, live stats, game results, and additional information about the tournament.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 March 2010 )|
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