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Huge rebound edge pushes South Plains College past Paris, 75-65, at NJCAA tournament in Hutchinson

Paris Dragons LogoHUTCHINSON, Kan. – Andre Spight scored a game high 22 points and Roderick Lawrence added 19 and eight rebounds as the South Plains College Texans beat Paris Junior College 75-65 Tuesday afternoon during second-round action of the NJCAA National Tournament at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.

Originally scheduled for 4:30 p.m., the contest started nearly two hours late due to two earlier games going into overtime, including the double-overtime game between Indian Huills and New Mexico Junior College.

Trevon Seymore scored 15 points to lead Paris, which ended its season at 26-8. For the fourth game — including all three games of the Region 14 tournament two weeks ago at Tyler, he scored 10 or more points in the first half. Delvin Dickerson added 14 points and Xavier Dupree 10.

South Plains (29-5) took an early 8-2 lead as PJC went almost four minutes before getting its first field goal. But Seymore scored and added a free throw, and Ronnie White added a slam dunk to pull Paris to within 8-7 with 15:19 to play in the first half.

Qua Doster’s 3-pointer and Joe Haynes’ goal and follow-up free throw tied the game at 17-all midway through the first half. But Spight scored five straight points and the Texans went on to a six-point halftime lead at 34-28.

South Plains came out firing to start the second half, scoring the first nine points for a 43-28 lead from which the Dragons were unable to recover.

Lawrence knocked down an early 3 and moments later turned a steal into a layup to put the Texans up 39-28. Sekou Harris and Spight also converted field goals before Paris was able to get on the board.

“We said in the locker room that we wanted to come out aggressive and put our foot on the pedal and really take it to them,” Spight said.

Paris would get back to within six inside eight minutes to go in the game when the Dragons slowed South Plains down with a 12-4 run of their own — trimming a 52-37 Texans lead to 60-54 with just under seven minutes to play.

Dupree led the Dragon comeback, hitting three shots, including two from outside the 3-point arc, and Dickerson knocked down two 3-pointers.

Spight and company responded, not allowing the Dragons to creep any closer and ultimately winning by a 10-point margin by knocking down 7-of-8 free throws in the last three minutes when PJC was forced to foul.

The Texans pulled down 19 offensive rebounds, leading to 17 second-chance points. Overall, South Plains enjoyed a 45-29 rebounding edge.

“I think it was the difference in the game,” Texan head coach Steve Green said.  “There are a whole lot of good things that happen when you get second shots.”

Paris head coach Chuck Taylor agreed.

“They are very well coached and a very good team,” Taylor said.  “They rebound the ball at an extremely high level, and they did that tonight.

“We like to say ‘eight or less’ on second-chance opportunities, I’m pretty sure they got more than 10.”

On one possession that proved especially frustrating for the Dragons, South Plains attempted five shots under the goal — each one unsuccessful but the Texans pulled down every rebound and went back up, getting fouled on the sixth attempt.

With the win, South Plains moved into the quarterfinals and a noon Thursday match against top-ranked and No. 1 tournament seed Indian Hills, which survived the double overtime scare from New Mexico JC in the previous game.

Indian Hills held on to defeat New Mexico 102-94.  The T-Birds led by as many as 16 in the second half but saw their advantage cut to 81-79 as the game entered its final minute.  Over the final 48 seconds, New Mexico made only 1-of-4 shots from the free throw line, allowing Indian Hills to send the game to extra periods and, eventually, win.

“They are very athletic.  Shot blockers, they shoot the ball well,” Green said of the team that finished the regular season ranked No. 1.  “I think they want it to be a full-court game, which I think we are OK with that.”

South Plains scrimmaged the Warriors in October, before the regular season began.

“It was very challenging, it was good for us,” Green said before adding, “We’ve both been through a lot to get to this point.  They are probably better now than they were and I hope we are too.”

South Plains (29-5)
Andre Spight 8-15 4-4 22, Billydee Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Sekou Harris 2-5 0-0 5, Malik Nichols3-6 0-1 6, Clayton Jones 0-2 3-4 3, Emmanuel Omogbo 3-9 4-6 10, Roderick Lawrence 6-13 4-4 19, Cedrick McAfee 0-0 0-0 0, Ryan Martin 1-5 2-2 4, Michael Karena 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 26-62 17-21 75

Paris JC (26-8)
Jovan Austin 1-6 6-6 8, Brandon Scott 0-3 0-0 0, Joe Haynes 1-7 4-6 6, Keith Shivers 0-1 0-0 0, Trevon Seymore 5-7 5-7 15, Qua Doster 1-3 0-0 3, Ronnie White 2-2 4-4 8, Delvin Dickerson 5-10 2-2 14, Xavier Dupree 4-9 0-0 10, Nouhoum Bocoum 0-3 1-2 1. Totals 19-51 22-27 65

Halftime: South Plains 34, Paris 28.

FG%: South Plains .419, Paris JC .373. 3-pt FG: South Plains 6-19 (Spight 2-6, Williams 0-2, Harris 1-3, Jones 0-1, Lawrence 3-6, Martin 0-1), Paris JC 5-21 (Austin 0-2, Scott 0-1, Haynes 0-3, Doster 1-2, Dickerson 2-7, Dupree 2-6). Rebounds: South Plains 44 (Omogbo 10), Paris JC 29 (Seymore 6, Dupree 6). Fouls: South Plains 20, Paris JC 18. Fouled out: none. Technical: none. Assists: South Plains 12 (Harris 7), Paris JC 10 (Austin 4, Seymore 4). Steals: South Plains 5 (Spight 2, Lawrence 2), Paris JC 4 (Scott 1, Haynes 1, Seymore 1, Dupree 1). Blocked shots: South Plains 2 (Omogbo 1, Martin 1), Paris JC 4 (White 2, Dupree 2). Turnovers: South Plains 10, Paris JC 9.

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