CSM men’s hoops drops two at NJCAA tour­ney

Hawks yielded over 90 points in each set­back

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

Af­ter at­tain­ing the Re­gion XX tour­na­ment as the sixth seed, the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land men’s basketball team proudly headed to the Na­tional Ju­nior Col­lege Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion Divi­sion II tour­na­ment at Danville Area Community Col­lege in Danville, Ill., look­ing to du­pli­cate their per­for­mance as a gen­uine Cin­derella team.

Un­like the NCAA Divi­sion I men’s basketball tour­na­ment, com­monly re­ferred to as March Madness, the NJCAA D-II tour­na­ment is a dou­ble-elim­i­na­tion for­mat. The top eight teams were seeded, while CSM was among the eight teams thrown into the ran­dom draw where for­tune was hardly fa­vor­able.

In fact, CSM (14-18 over­all) had the mis­for­tune of draw­ing the No. 1 over­all seed, South­west­ern (Iowa), for the open­ing round on Tues­day and the Hawks were un­able to main­tain their win­ning ways. CSM played tough in a 94-69 set­back, as the Hawks trailed by only 10 points at the in­ter­mis­sion and were still within 15 with two min­utes left when head coach Alan Hoyt, a Great Mills High School grad­u­ate, emp­tied his bench.

“We knew they had a lot of re­ally good shoot­ers,” Hoyt said of South­west­ern. “We played them close in the first half and it was still only an eight­point game early in the sec­ond half. We just made a few men­tal mis­takes that al­lowed them to go on some runs. It was 1110 in the first half and then we went six min­utes with­out a bas­ket and the next thing you know its 24-10. You just can’t have those types of droughts against those teams.”

CSM got 24 points and eight re­bounds from David Francis, while An­thony Wil­liams (a North Point High School grad­u­ate from Wal­dorf) had 12 points and eight as­sists, Trevon Porter (a Great Mills High School grad­u­ate from Lexington Park) added 10 points and 13 re­bounds and Jor­dan Bat­tle (a Thomas Stone High School grad­u­ate from Wal­dorf) and Sean Scott (a St. Charles High School grad­u­ate from Wal­dorf) each scored nine points.

CSM was 2 of 19 (11 per­cent) from three-point range, while South­west­ern was 11 of 29 (38 per­cent).

In the losers’ bracket on Wed­nes­day, CSM was up­ended by Waubon­see (Ill.), 92-81.

Waubon­see had lost to eighth-seeded Pima (Ariz.), 93-84, in the open­ing round one day ear­lier. Hav­ing seen Waubon­see fall in the open­ing game of the tour­na­ment, Hoyt was op­ti­mistic that his

squad can bounce back from the set­back and fare well in the elim­i­na­tion game.

But the Hawks again found them­selves in a 10-point hole at the in­ter­mis­sion, trail­ing Waubon­see, 47-37. CSM nar­rowed the gap to 71-68 mid­way through the sec­ond half, but it could never draw even.

Francis again led the Hawks with 23 points in a los­ing cause, while Do­minic Espeleta (a West­lake High School grad­u­ate from Wal­dorf) added 14, Wil­liams had 12 and Porter added 10. Levon Ran­dall (a Thomas Stone High School grad­u­ate from Wal­dorf) scored 13 points off the bench.

CSM and Waubon­see shot bet­ter than 50 per­cent from the floor, but the Illi­nois squad was able to with­stand a CSM sec­ond-half surge en route to elim­i­nat­ing the Hawks.

“It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence for the guys to win the Re­gion XX ti­tle and get a chance to play on the big stage,” Hoyt said af­ter Wed­nes­day’s set­back. “We had our chances, but we had some de­fen­sive lapses and they were able to pull away from down the stretch. We have six guys back next year and hope­fully this show­ing will help with our re­cruit­ing ef­fort and a lot of guys out there will want to come down and play for CSM the next two years.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF COL­LEGE OF SOUTH­ERN MARY­LAND

The Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land men’s basketball team lost twice at the Na­tional Ju­nior Col­lege Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion Divi­sion II tour­na­ment at Danville Area Community Col­lege in Danville, Ill. The Hawks fell to South­west­ern (Iowa), the tour­na­ment’s No. 1 over­all seed, on Tues­day, 94-69, then lost to Waubon­see (Ill.) on Wed­nes­day, 92-81.

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