After capturing a national title a year ago, the South Plains College men’s basketball team advanced to the 2019 NJCAA Division I National Championship Tournament, but fell short after reaching the final four.
The second-seeded Texans fell to No. 3 seed Vincennes State College (Indiana) 85-67 in a semifinal game of the NJCAA tournament.
The NJCAA tournament was held on March 18 – March 23 in Hutchinson, Kansas.
SPC didn’t allow the Trailblazers to secure much of a lead for the majority of the first half, controlling Vincennes’ lead to within one or two possessions until the final four minutes. The Trailblazers utilized a 13-7 run in a four-minute span to widen the gap to 38-31 by the end of the first half.
The Texans re-gained some ground at the beginning of the second half, tying the game at 47 after two made free throws from sophomore Deon Barett with 14:32 on the clock. Vincennes then went on an 11-1 run in the next two minutes to take a 10-point lead at 58-48.
Despite the Texans’ best efforts, the Trailblazers continued to tack on points, increasing the deficit through the remainder of the second half.
Sophomore Gaige Prim led the scoring for the Texans, recording a double-double with 29 points and 15 rebounds, despite having to return to the bench after picking up his fourth foul early in the second half. Prim shot 10-for-16 from the field, with nine of his points coming from the free-throw line.
Sophomore Chris Orlina poured in 14 points, knocking down four of his nine attempts from the floor. Barett added seven points, shooting 2-for-6 from the field, including one three-pointer. Sophomore Jonah Antonio chipped in six points on 2-for-7 shooting from the floor, hitting a pair of three-pointers
Redshirt-freshman Christian Wilson tossed in six points off of the bench, shooting 2-for-2 from the field and hit both of his free-throw attempts in his 13 minutes on the hardwood.
Despite shooting 43.8 percent from the floor, the Texans were out-rebounded 30-40 and had a 14-4 turnover margin.
SPC topped Eastern Florida State College 82-74 in the Elite-Eight round of the NJCAA tournament on March 21.
Orlina led all scorers with 23 points, shooting 6-for-10 from the field, including 2-of-4 from behind the three-point arch. Orlina also hit nine free-throws and pulled down six rebounds. Barett poured in 19 points on 6-for-13 shooting form the field, including 5-of-10 from behind the three-point arc.
Prim recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 4-for-6 from the floor and adding eight points from the free-throw line. Sophomore Trey Wade had nine points on 4-for-7 shooting.
Sophomore Koray Gilbert added seven points, while Antonio had five and sophomore Charles Jennings had three.
The Texans shot 49.1 percent from the field and 37 percent from the three-point arch. They also out-rebounded the Titans 37-26.
SPC knocked out Trinity Valley Community College 82-75 in the Sweet 16 round of the NJCAA tournament on March 19.
Prim and Wade led the scoring for the Texans. Prim poured in 22 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field. He also hit 10 free throws and grabbed nine rebounds. Wade shot 10-for-16 from the field, including one three-pointer, accumulating 22 points as well.
Barett recorded 15 points, shooting 4-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-7 from behind the three-point arc. Antonio added 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting from the field.
SPC shot 49.1 percent from the field and 35 percent from the three-point line.
The Texans competed in the NJCAA Region V tournament held on March 7 – March 9 at the Moody Coliseum in Abilene.
In the first round, SPC topped Temple College 87-79 on March 7. Wade recorded a career-high 31 points in the victory.
The Texans then defeated Ranger College 85-75 in the semifinals of the Region V tournament on March 8. Prim and Orlina paced SPC with 29 points and 18 points, respectively.
The Texans secured the Region V title after pushing past Odessa College 73-71 in the Finals on March 9. Prim led the scoring with 27 points, while Orlina wasn’t far behind with 20 points in the win.