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Bears win opening-round game at NJCAA DII Men’s Basketball Tournament

March 19, 2014

Lead by as many as 25 points in emphatic 70-48 win over Lake Michigan Wednesday


Phoenix, Arizona – March 19, 2014 -- Phoenix College is proud to announce that the PC Men’s Basketball team has won its first game in the 2014 NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament.  The 5th-seeded Bears finished off the first round of games at the tournament by defeating Lake Michigan College, 70-48, Wednesday afternoon at Mary Miller Center at Danville Area Community College in Danville, Illinois.  The win advances the Bears to the winners’ bracket of the tournament, sending them to a showdown with Fort Scott Community College (KS) Thursday night.   


The game featured teams that were both riding long winning streaks coming into the game.  The Redhawks tried to extend their winning streak to six games by coming out of the gates quickly, scoring 5 of the game’s first 7 points.  Once the Bears-who had a season-long 9-game winning streak themselves entering the contest-calmed their nerves about being in the national tournament, they got their transition game going-much in part to freshman forward Derreck Brooks.  The Desert Ridge High School alum keyed three straight Bears’ fast break layups with long assist passes to Joel Feigler and Brendon Pineda-Morales (Tolleson HS).  That spurred a 10-0 Bears’ run that gave them a 12-5 lead-a lead they would never relinquish as they maintained a lead between 5 and 9 points over the game’s next 11 minutes.  The Redhawks finally mounted a rally late in the first half thanks to starting center Terrell Clinton, who scored 15 first-half points and brought LMC back to within 3 points.  However, the Bears forced a couple of key defensive stops in the last 90 seconds of the first half, scored the last five points of the half, and headed to the halftime locker room with a 30-22 lead. 


That would be the closest that Lake Michigan would get to PC for the remainder of the game as they spent the first 5:10 of the second half shut out of the scoring column.  By the time they were able to convert, the Bears were up, 36-22, and were never threatened again.  The Bears built their lead up to as many as 25 points, and never allowed LMC to cut the deficit to less than 13 points in the final 14 minutes of regulation.  Reigning ACCAC Freshman of the Year Brandon Brown (Cesar Chavez HS) was the main spark plug of the Bears’ offense, scoring 14 of his game-high 20 points after halftime.  And while the Bears’ leading scorer on the season-Brown-wound up right on his season scoring average, the PC defense completely bottled up LMC’s main offensive cog, Ken Coates, who wound up with just 2 points (20 points under his season scoring average), and spent much of the second half with four fouls.  Clinton led the Redhawks (20-13 overall) with 17 points, but was held to just 2 points after halftime.  Brown also had 6 rebounds and 4 assists in the win, while Brooks added a stellar stat line of 14 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocked shots.    The Bears (25-8 overall) extended their winning streak to 10 games with the victory.


The Bears now advance to the 2nd round winners’ bracket to take on the true ‘Cinderella’ team of the tournament:  Fort Scott Community College from Fort Scott, Kansas.  The Greyhounds entered the tournament with the distinction of being the only team in the field with a losing record at 14 wins and 16 losses.  That did nothing to deter them from pulling off one of the stunners of the first round, dominating the 9th-ranked team in the nation (and the tournament’s 4thseed), South Suburban Community College (IL).  The Greyhounds took control late in the first half to take a 36-29 lead at the half, then proceeded to methodically run away from SSC in the second half, leading by as many as 19 points en route to a 77-59 win.  It was the 6th straight win for the Greyhounds, who earned the right to make the trip to Danville by upsetting top-seeded Brown Mackie College (KS) in the Region V Finals two weeks ago. 


The Bears & Greyhounds will tip off their second-round game at the NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament at 6:30PM Arizona time on Thursday, March 20th(tomorrow), at Mary Miller Center on the DACC campus in Danville.  The winner will advance to the tournament’s semifinal round Friday night at 6PM Arizona time, while the loser heads to a 1PM elimination-round game on Friday.  Fans that can’t make the trip to Danville to cheer the Bears on in person can catch the action of every tournament game the Bears are involved in LIVE on GoBears SportsNet, the Bears’ internet video/audio streaming broadcast carrier, on the Bears’ Athletics website.  Broadcast time for the Bears’ game Thursday night is scheduled for 6:15PM Arizona time, with the “Voice of the Bears”, Jim Howell, providing the play-by-play.