Danville, IL - Game two of the NJCAA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament, on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, at 11 a.m., showcased the top-seeded Southwestern Community College Spartans against the College of Southern Maryland Hawks.
Southwestern hit their first two threes of the game but the Hawks, record-wise the worst team in the field at 14-16, hung close for the first five minutes. The game was tied with 15:25 left at eight a piece.
On-ball pressure from Southwestern quickened the flow of the game and had the teams moving up and down the floor. It sparked a 14-2 run over the next six minutes for Southwestern who took a 12-point lead, 22-10.
Southwestern continued to maintain their lead. By 2:30 left in the first, they had their largest lead of 15, 40-25 after a long three by KeShawn Wilson (pictured).
A final flourish by the Hawks had them within 10, 42-32, including a lay-up as time expired for the half.
Both teams traded baskets for start of the second half, with Southwestern having a slight edge and led 51-38 with 15:26 left.
Out of a timeout, Jamil Maddred connected on a three to extend the Spartan lead. After a technical foul called on the Hawks, Southwestern found themselves with their largest lead of 18 after making both free throws.
Over the next several minutes, Southwestern continued to build their lead. Alijah Thomas connected from long range and the Spartans found themselves up 24, 69-43 and had the game under control.
For the remainder of the game, Southern Maryland was able to get as close as 18 before Southwestern cruised to an easy win, 94-69.
"I thought our offense was pretty solid throughout the game. We had a few careless turnovers here and there, but we consistently got good shots," recounted Coach Todd Lorensen. "We knew they were going to try to attack in the paint, but we were able to keep them out and force them to take contested jumpers. That was our ultimate goal, and we did a pretty good job with it."
The Spartans will advance to play Pima Community College on Thursday at 1 p.m. CDT.
Southwestern - 94
Southern Maryland - 69
#15 KeShawn Wilson - 24 pts, 9/16 FG, 5 rebs
#4 Lavon Hightower - 13 pts, 3/4 FG, 6/6 FT, 3 asts
#10 Jordan Johnson - 10 pts, 4 rebs, 2 stls
#1 Alijah Thomas - 12 pts, 4/6 FG, 5 rebs
Photo Credit: Ryan Kronberg, Creston News Advertiser