Danville, IL – The eighth and final first-round game featured the 5-seed Southwestern Spartans against the 12th-seeded Dakota County Blue Knights.
After a 1-0 lead for Dakota County, Southwestern would take the lead and hold it for the entire half. Khallid Edwards and Alijah Thomas opened the game with three-pointers for the Spartans. The guards led Southwestern throughout the half, scoring over half of the teams first half points.
The teams exchanged blows throughout the half, with Southwestern's largest lead coming at the 7:09 mark after a Thomas free throw, 27-19.
Damario Armstrong kept the Blue Knights within striking distance. In the last seven minutes of the half, he connected on back-to-back three-pointers and scored 12 of Dakota County's final 14 points. Dakota County stayed within a possession for the last five minutes on of the half and by the end, trailed the Spartans by just three, 36-33.
The teams traded baskets for the first two minutes of the half before Dakota County went on a 10-0 run that put them in front by four, 50-46. But Thomas and Southwestern would counter with an 11-2 run that put them back in front for good.
Southwestern then knocked down three three-pointers in the next two minutes, the last connection on a three from Ryan Warren that gave the Spartans a 70-57 lead. Another run of 11-3 and the gap was at 17 points, 81-64. Southwestern closed out the game and won 92-77.
Southwestern Community College will advance to play Erie Community College on Thursday at 8 p.m.
Dakota County - 77
Southwestern - 92
#21 Damario Armstrong, 6', So. – 27pts, 8rebs, 9-20 FG, 4 3PTM
#11 Dontae Jones, 6'3, So. – 14pts, 6rebs, 6-8 FG
#3 Cole Murray, 6'8, So. – 10pts, 8rebs
#2 Haryln Owens, 6'3, Fr. – 19pts, 9rebs, 8-20 FG
#2 Khallid Edwards, 5'8, So. – 20pts, 3stls, 7-9 FG
#1 Alijah Thomas, 6', So. – 13pts, 5rebs, 6-7 FT
#20 Gatdoar Kueth, 6'7, Fr. – 9pts, 3ast, 4-7 FG
#23 Terence Shelby, 6'2, So. – 15pts, 20rebs
#15 Chad Moran, 6'4 Fr. – 16pts, 6rebs, 5-10 FG