PJC's likely first-round game is with defending champion South Plains, but Dragons aren't scared
Paris Junior College’s Region XIV champion men’s basketball team (26-7) hasn’t played anyone they couldn’t score points on in a hurry this season — and that includes defending national champion South Plains College, which was ranked as high as No. 1 during the season before finishing the season at No. 5.
The two teams met on Nov. 2, 2013, in the Collin Classic tournament at Plano — the opening game of PJC’s 2013-2014 season. Paris’ Dragons led South Plains with less than three minutes to go before eventually losing 69-65.
The Texans of Levelland, Texas, are likely the Dragons’ opponent at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the NJCAA men’s junior college championships at Hutchinson, Kan. PJC is the No. 8 seed with a first-round bye and will play the winner of Monday’s first-round game between No. 9 seed South Plains (27-5) and No. 24 seed Cape Fear (19-13).
The Texans won their first 13 games this season before losing 73-72 to Monroe. They ran their record to 20-1 before losing 76-56 to Odessa and 81-70 to Western Texas in back-to-back games to fall to 20-3. They won two more and then lost 105-94 to Clarendon. Then they won five in a row before losing 86-51 to Hill College in the semifinals of the Region 5 tournament on Friday at Lubbock.
Here’s a look back at that Paris-South Plains game four months ago:
PLANO, Texas — Billydee Williams, a 6-5 sophomore guard, knocked down two slam dunks during an 11-2 run for South Plains College that opened up a 10-point lead over Paris Junior College in the first half.
South Plains, ranked No. 9 nationally in the preseason junior college poll, led PJC’s Dragons 39-29 at the half.
But Paris scored the first nine points of the second half to cut South Plains’ lead to 39-38.
Delvin Dickerson led a 10-2 run that finally got the Dragons a 68-66 lead with three and a half minutes to play.
Every time Paris threatened, Williams — not even a starter, then or now — answered with a 3-pointer. He had six 3’s, five of them the second half.
Williams scored 27 points and pulled down 12 rebounds.
Joe Haynes had 18 points, 3 steals and 2 assists for Paris, and Dickerson had 17 points and 6 rebounds.
“Yeah, we kept coming back, but the thing is, when you come back, you can’t keep stubbing your toe,” PJC head coach Chuck Taylor said at the time.
A PJC player stepped out of bounds on the in-bounds pass at a crucial time in the final minute, and the Dragons didn’t seem to be in as much of a hurry as Taylor would have preferred during the last couple of minutes.
“I’ve got young guards, and unfortunately, in this league, they’ve got to grow up in a hurry. They know A, B and C, but they don’t understand yet the other things you have to do to get to D, E and F, and make those work as well,” Taylor said.
Taking advantage of five early SPC turnovers, Paris took an early 4-0 lead in the game, including a goal and a free throw from Haynes. But that was the Dragons’ largest lead of the game.
Williams’ only 3-pointer of the first half gave the Texans a 12-12 tie with 12:45 before intermission,
Nouhoum Bocoum, a 6-9 sophomore from Harlem, N.Y., came off the bench kept pace with four straight baskets inside for Paris, but South Plains’ 6-2 guard, Andre Spight, made a 3-pointer and two free throws to start a 14-4 run for a 26-18 lead.
The Texans’ advantage grew to 11 points – their largest lead of the game — at 34-23 with 5:34 left in the first half. The score was tied three times – at 12-12, 14-14, and 66-66.
The lead changed hands five times – once when South Plains finally went ahead at 19-16 midway through the first half.
Paris reclaimed the lead at 51-50 on Haynes’ 3-pointer with 11:34 to play, but Williams answered with his own 3-pointer, starting a run of eight straight points for a 58-51 South Plains lead.
Dickerson scored twice as the Dragons closed the gap to 58-56, and Paris twice missed baskets inside that would have brought them even.
Williams hit 3-pointers his next two trips down court, increasing the lead to 64-58 in the span of 34 seconds.
Dickerson hit a 3-pointer and added three free throws, and Haynes scored a basket that tied the game at 66-66 with 4:20 to play.
Phil Roberts gave the Dragons a 68-66 lead at 3:29 with a pair of free throws, but Williams came back with another 3-pointer moments later, and PJC was unable to overcome a very talented South Plains team.
“They’re a good team, and it was a tough game, but I’m proud of our resiliency, the way we hung in there,” Taylor said.
“But this is going to help get us ready for our league. We did a lot of good things, but we did some bad things as well, so we’ve got to do better. We made 18 of 24 free throws – 75 percent. Unfortunately, they got to the line 42 times (making 26).”
Taylor said the Dragons “are about where I thought we would be” at this point. They won five of six scrimmages they played in October, losing only to Texas A&M-Commerce.
“We’ve still got to get better, but we’re definitely on track,” Taylor said. “There’s not any question about that. We’ve just got to keep working.”
SOUTH PLAINS 39-40—79
PARIS – Jovan Austin 1-4 6-8 8, Delvin Dickerson 7-15 3-4 17, Trevon Seymore 4-10 1-2 9, Joe Haynes 7-12 1-2 18, Ronnie White 3-7 2-2 8, Brandon Scott 0-2 3-4 3, Keith Shivers 1-4 0-0 2, Xavier Dupree 0-2 0-0 0, Terrell Colbert 0-0 0-0 0, Qua Doster 0-1 0-0 0, Phil Roberts 0-0 2-2 2, Henoc Bienne 0-1 0-0 0, Nouhoum Bocoum 4-7 0-0 8. Totals: 27-65 18-24 75. 3-Pointers: 3-13 (Dickerson 0-4, Seymore 0-1, Haynes 3-4, Scott 0-1, Dupree 0-1, Doster 0-1, Bienne 0-1). Fouls: 28 (White 5). Rebounds: 31 (White 8). Assists: 8 (Seymore 3). Turnovers: 11. Blocks: 3 (White 2, Roberts 1). Steals: 5 (Haynes 3). Record: 0-1.
SOUTH PLAINS – Emmanuel Omogbo 4-6 4-7 12, Sekou Harris 1-4 7-10 9, Malik Nichols 1-5 1-4 3, Roderick Lawrence 1-9 3-4 5, Brandon Neal 4-7 4-8 12, Andre Spight 2-7 4-4 9, Billydee Williams 10-18 1-1 27, Darrel Lucky 0-0 1-2 1, Clayton Jones 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 23-56 26-42 79. 3-Pointers: 7-27 (Omogbo 0-1, Nichols 0-1, Lawrence 0-7, Neel 0-1, Spight 1-5, Williams 6-12). Fouls: 22 (Harris, Nichols, Spight).Rebounds: 45 (Williams 12). Assists: 11 (Harris 5). Turnovers: 20. Blocks: 1 (Harris). Steals: 6 (Neal, Williams ). Record: 2-0.
By Charles Richards, eparisExtra
Nouhoum Bohoum (in yellow) scores one of his four straight baskets in the first half as South Plains’ Roderick Lawrence (20) defends.
Billydee Williams (2) hits a 3-pointer to put South Plains ahead to stay, 69-68, with 3:15 to play.