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It's PJC's Dragons (26-7) vs. South Plains (28-5) at 4:30 p.m. today in NJCAA Men's Tournament

NJCAA Men's Logo smallHUTCHINSON, Kan. — Paris Junior College (26-7) will play South Plains College (28-5) at 4:30 p.m. today in the second round of the NCJAA national men’s basketball championships.

The game will be televised live on the Internet by www.njcaatv.com.

Members of the Paris Dragons basketball team are shown on the bus prior to leaving Sunday for Hutchinson. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)
Members of the Paris Dragons basketball team are shown on the bus prior to leaving Sunday for Hutchinson. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

The Dragons got a first-round bye thanks to their top-8 seed, and head coach Chuck Taylor, his assistants, and the PJC players watched as South Plains College beat Cape Fear, N.C. in the tournament’s second game on Monday.

Six teams were eliminated in Monday’s first round, and two more teams will be sent home in today’s 10 a.m. and noon games, setting up a 16-team second round.

Paris and South Plains met in the Dragons’ first game of the season back on Nov. 2, in a tournament game hosted by Collin County Community College in Plano.

Paris led with 2:38 to go, but lost in the final minute, 69-65.

The Dragons have been starting 6-1 Jovan Austin, 6-1 Joe Haynes, 6-6 Delvin Dickerson, 6-4 Keith Shivers, and 6-0 Nouhoum Bocoum.

Quick off the bench have been 6-3 Trevon Seymore, 5-10 Brandon Scott, 6-1 Qua Doster, 6-9 Ronnie White and 6-9 forward Xavier Dupree.

Seymore was the most valuable player of the Region 14 tournament that Paris won on March 8 in Tyler, with Haynes and Dickerson joining him on the all-tournament team.

It’s Paris’ first appearance in the national junior college tournament since 2008, when the Dragons lost in the first round, then won their next two games before losing to Chipola, Fla., in the consolation championship game.

Three years earlier, the Dragons came into Hutchinson unranked and proceeded to win the national championship under head coach Bill Foy.

The tournament was double-elimination through 2012, with the 16 regional champions, but eight teams were added beginning last year, forming a 24-team single-elimination field.

From the 16 regional champions, eight teams were selected for first-round byes. Then the remaining 16 teams were seeded and paired for first-round games.

The top seeds prevailed Monday in the six first-round games. Today’s 10 a.m. and noon games will complete the first round and set up the bracket for the 16 remaining teams.

In Monday’s first-round games, it was:

  • No. 16 seed New Mexico Junior College (27-6) over No. 21 seed Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, 79-62.
  • No. 9 seed South Plains (28-5) over No. 24 seed Cape Fear, N.C., 93-81.
  • No. 13 seed Harcum College (30-3) over No. 20 seed Walters State, 97-80.
  • No. 12 Trinity Valley (28-6) over No. 21 seed Pratt, Kan., 68-65.
  • No. 15 Wallace State (28-6) over Westchester, N.Y., 101-99.
  • No. 10 Columbia State (27-3) over No. 23 Central Georgia Tech 80-58.

Today’s final two first-round games will pit No. 14 Shelton State (28-5) against No. 19 State Fair (25-6) at 10 a.m., followed by No. 11 Jones (23-5) vs. No. 22 Highland (27-7) at noon.

Indian Hills C.C. (31-2) of Otumwa, Iowa, ranked No. 1 in the final NJCAA poll, will open second-round play at 2 p.m. against New Mexico JC.

Paris and South Plains will meet at 4:30 p.m. in the first of a three-game evening set at the Hutchinson Sports Arena, setting up a quarterfinal game at noon Thursday against the Indian Hills-New Mexico JC winner.

On the bottom of the bracket, No. 4 seed South Georgia Tech (29-4) will play Harcum at 6:30 p.m., and No. 5 seed Northeastern (31-3) will play Trinity Valley at 8:30 p.m. The two winners will meet in the quarterfinals at 2 p.m. Thursday.

The four quarterfinal games on the other side of the bracket will be played on Wednesday:

  • No. 2 seed Vincennes (31-2) vs. Wallace State.
  • No. 7 seed Salt Lake (27-6) vs. Columbia State.
  • No. 3 seed Chipola (25-5) vs. the winner of Tuesday’s 10 a.m. game between No. 14 Shelton State (28-5) vs. No. 19 State Fair (25-6).
  • No. 6 seed Hill College, Texas, (26-7) vs. the winner of Tuesday’s noon game between No. 11 Jones (23-5) vs. No. 22 Highland (27-7).

Trinity Valley led Pratt 25-14 with 6:51 left in the first half before the Kansas team, cheered on by a loud partisan crowd, ended the first half on a 13-3 run to cut the deficit to 28-27.

Led by Kevin Allen, who had 31 points and 17 rebounds, Pratt took a 51-45 lead over Trinity Valley midway through the second half.

But Trinity Valley’s 6-10 center Octavius Ellis, Region 14’s most valuable player, brought the Cardinals back.

Playing with four fouls, Ellis scored six points in a 9-0 run that put TVCC ahead 64-59 with 2:05 to play.

In the final half-minute, Trinity Valley led 66-62, but Pratt’s Taylor Schieber hit a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game with 12 seconds left in the game.

The Beavers fouled Malcolm Riley immediately. He made his first free throw to make it 67-65, but when he missed the second shot, Pratt had possession and a chance to tie or go ahead.

The ball again went to Schieber, whose 3-pointer and potential game-winner looked good, but didn’t fall.

The rebound went to Trinity Valley, and Pratt again fouled Riley, this time with less than three seconds left on the clock.

Again, he made one of two free throws, for a 68-65 lead, and Javis Flynn’s half-court shot hit the backboard and rim, but didn’t fall. Flinn had made a half-court shot against Seward County in the Region 6 semifinals, but it was not to be against Trinity Valley.

By Charles Richards, eParisExtra

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