* NJCAA DIVISION ONE *
FINAL FOUR – GAME ONE – This first semifinal saw the 8th seeded SOUTH PLAINS COLLEGE TEXANS take on the 12 seeds – the HILL COLLEGE REBELS. In this 2015 NJCAA Tournament which has been so tough on single-digit seeds it seemed yet another upset might be in the offing as the Rebels led the Texans 40-38 at Halftime. The 2nd Half was equally tight and Regulation ended in a 79-79 tie. In Overtime the South Plains College offense exploded, outscoring Hill College 23-11 for a 102-90 victory! Andre Spight led the Texans with 22 points.
FINAL FOUR – GAME TWO – Another Instant Classic was in store in this second semifinal game between the 2 seeds – the NORTHWEST FLORIDA STATE RAIDERS and the 19th seeded GEORGIA HIGHLANDS COLLEGE CHARGERS. This game was also a hard-fought affair with multiple ties and lead changes. At the midpoint the Raiders were on top by a slender 36-34 count with the Chargers managing an 88-88 tie at the end of Regulation to force Overtime. In this second extra session game of the night Northwest Florida State emerged with a 105-103 triumph to play South Plains College in the Championship Game! Brandon Austin’s 29 points led the Raiders.
* NJCAA DIVISION TWO *
FINAL FOUR – GAME ONE – The first semifinal in NJCAA Division Two was a DOUBLE OVERTIME affair featuring the RICHARD BLAND COLLEGE STATESMEN and the PHOENIX COLLEGE BEARS. The Statesmen faced a 32-26 deficit at Halftime which the Bears expanded to a 13 point gap early in the 2nd Half. Richard Bland College mounted a comeback and tied the game up at 70-70 to end Regulation. This Overtime game did the previous two an extra session better by going into Double OT. The Statesmen were the ultimate victors by a score of 87-85. Avery Ugba notched a Double Double for RBC with 26 points and 17 rebounds.
FINAL FOUR – GAME TWO – For once in last night’s NJCAA action a Final Four Game was decided in Regulation! The JOHN WOOD COLLEGE TRAIL BLAZERS took the court against the DES MOINES AREA COLLEGE BEARS. By Halftime the Bears had managed a 32-28 lead over the Trail Blazers but John Wood College regrouped in the locker room and came out primed for a comeback. In the 2nd Half the Trail Blazers overtook Des Moines for a 72-61 win and a trip to the title game against Richard Bland College. Paxton Harmon put up 23 points to lead John Wood College.
* NAIA DIVISION ONE *
ELITE EIGHT – FIRST BERTH – The 6th seeded DALTON STATE ROADRUNNERS continued their inspiring run through the tournament, this time at the expense of the (BD) WILEY COLLEGE WILDCATS. The Roadrunners had beep-beeped their way out to a 47-34 lead at Halftime, then held off the Wildcats in the 2nd Half on their way to a win by a final score of 97-86. Jordan Bowling led Dalton State with his Double Double of THIRTY-TWO points and 17 rebounds.
ELITE EIGHT – SECOND BERTH – This next hardcourt clash was between the 3rd seeded CAL STATE AT SAN MARCOS COUGARS and the (BD) ARIZONA CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY FIRESTORM. The Firestorm at first seemed to be in charge and led the Cougars 41-30 at the break. Cal State- San Marcos regrouped in the locker room and played smothering defense in the 2nd Half, outscoring Arizona Christian University 31-18 for a 61-59 comeback win. Blake Nash led the Cougars with 17 points.
ELITE EIGHT – THIRD BERTH – That game was followed by a contest pitting the 7th seeded UNIVERSITY OF PIKEVILLE BEARS against the 10 seeds – the CONCORDIA (CA) EAGLES (who I say should go by the Condors). The Bears trailed the Eagles 42-39 at the Half but came back to force Overtime with an 82-82 tie. In the extra session the University of Pikeville emerged with a 97-93 triumph. K.K. Simmons tossed in 28 points to lead the Bears.
ELITE EIGHT – FOURTH BERTH – The 2 seeds – the TALLADEGA COLLEGE TORNADOES – found themselves going up against the (BD) OUR LADY OF THE LAKE UNIVERSITY SAINTS. By the midpoint buzzer the Tornadoes held a 39-25 advantage over the Saints. Our Lady of the Lake University rallied in the 2nd Half but Talladega College ensured they didn’t get too close and ultimately won the game 79-70. Brandon Peters of the Tornadoes led the way for his team with 22 points.
ELITE EIGHT – FIFTH BERTH – In this matchup the 8th seeded MARTIN METHODIST COLLEGE RED HAWKS took the court against the (BD) UNIVERSITY OF THE CUMBERLANDS PATRIOTS. The Red Hawks dominated the Patriots on both sides of the ball in this game and a 34-29 Halftime lead became a 73-59 victory in the end. Dacoby Burnett led Martin Methodist College in this game with 18 points.
ELITE EIGHT – SIXTH BERTH – The top seeded team in the tournament – the HOPE INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY ROYALS – saw action next as they faced the (BD) UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA- WESTERN BULLDOGS. The Royals got a scare as the Bulldogs had seized a 40-37 edge by the break. In the 2nd Half Hope International University came from behind to win the game by a healthy margin of 82-72. Tuff Barnes and Matt Green each had 16 points for the Royals.
ELITE EIGHT – SEVENTH BERTH – 13 has not been an unlucky seed number for the MIDAMERICA CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY EVANGELS, who moved on to the Elite Eight at the expense of the (BD) MISSOURI VALLEY COLLEGE VIKINGS. The Evangels had built up a very comfortable 44-27 lead by Halftime but then had to brace themselves against a furious Vikings comeback attempt. In the end MidAmerica Christian University prevailed to the tune of 81-72. Brock Hunter notched 20 points to lead the Evangels.
ELITE EIGHT – FINAL BERTH – This last remaining slot in the 2015 Elite Eight was being fought over by the (BD) WESTMONT COLLEGE WARRIORS and the 5 seeds – the CAMPBELLSVILLE UNIVERSITY TIGERS. The Warriors made it clear to the Tigers that they were in this game to win it and trailed the favorites by just 43-42 at the break. Both defenses stepped up big in the 2nd Half with the Warriors squeezing out a 65-61 victory to advance. Cory Blau tossed in 17 points for Westmont College.