The Athens Review
HUTCHINSON, KAN. —
When the going gets tough, the resiliency of the Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals pays dividends this season.
The Cardinals left the Hutchison Sports Arena on the opening day of the NJCAA National Tournament with a 68-65 win over the Pratt Community College Beavers to advance to the second round of the tournament.
“I thought they were well prepared,” coach Kris “Bucket” Baumann said. “I honestly thought they played better than us and I thought No. 4 (Kevin Allen) was an animal. We were unable to do anything to keep him off of the boards.”
Allen finished the game with 31 points and 17 rebounds.
With the win, the No. 8-ranked Cardinals are now 28-6 on the year.
They will face the No. 6-ranked Northeastern Junior College Plainsmen (31-3) at 8:30 p.m. tonight at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
“I know they are 31-3 they have to be good so hopefully we can play a little bit better tomorrow,” Baumann said.
With a win tonight, the Cardinals would not return to the court until Thursday at 2 p.m.
This was the Cardinals first trip back to the national tournament since the 1995 season.
The most glaring stats of the game was rebounding and free throw shooting for the Cardinals.
TVCC was outrebounded 49-31 and shot 17-of-30 from the free throw line in the win.
“That is the first time we have been outrebounded in the last 20-or-25 games,” Baumann said. “We did not do a very good job on the glass and we could not contain their big guy.”
With nine minutes remaining in the game, Pratt picked up its biggest lead of the game at, 51-45, as Allen was able to power his way on the offensive glass.
With 2:10 remaining in the game, Cardinal forward Octavius Ellis gave TVCC a five-point lead as Patrick Ingram found him for the fast break dunk and a 64-59 lead.
With 1:49 remaining in the ball game, Ellis picked up his fifth foul and was forced to watch the remainder of the game from the bench.
Ellis said it was tough to watch the late run by the Beavers.
“It was very stressful,” he said. “I wanted to be able to help my team and it was good to see us battle at the end.”
Pratt then went cut into the lead and trailed, 66-65, with 10 seconds remaining as Deshun Roberts found Taylor Schieber for a three-pointer.
TVCC’s Malcolm Riley hit one-of-two free throws to ice the game for the 68-65 finale.
TVCC finished the game shooting 23-of-58 for 39.7 percent and 5-of-25 for 20 percent from three-point range.
“When you here for the first day, you usually do not shoot the ball well, Baumann said. “It takes you a couple of games to get used to the environment.”
TVCC was led in scoring by Ellis, Dedrick Basile and Aldonis Foote with 12 points each, while Malcolm Riley added 10 points.
TVCC 68, Pratt 65
Pratt CC 27 38 -- 65
TVCC 31 37 -- 68
Pratt -- Javis Flynn 3, Kevin Allen 31, Merrill Holden 4, Robert Davis 13, Kaion Latham-Seales 4, Deshun Roberts 6.
TVCC -- Octavius Ellis 12, Dilepso Blanco 8, Malcolm Riley 10, Dedrick Basile 12, Clarence Williams 4, Patrick Ingram 6, Aldonis Foote 12, Kevin Jordan 4.
Total Rebounds -- Pratt 49. TVCC 31.
Free Throws -- Pratt 14-22. TVCC 17-30.
Turnovers -- Pratt 15. TVCC 5.
Points off turnovers -- Pratt 8. TVCC 14.