The Tyler Junior College Apaches held on for an 83-79 win over the upset-minded Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals in a Region XIV Conference clash Wednesday night at Cardinal Gym.

Tyler wasn’t out of harm’s way until Jimmy Butler hit a pair of free throws in the closing 21 seconds. Butler, who led the Apaches with 21 points, spent a lot of the second half at the free throw line. He was 9-of-13 for the game and 7-of-11 in the second half.

Butler’s first free throw in the closing seconds gave the Apaches an 81-79 lead. After a timeout, the Cardinals put the ball in the hands of sophomore wing Jay Smith for a three-point attempt that was off the mark.

Smith played a big role for the Cardinals in the first half, hitting four of his six three-pointers — all from well beyond the arc. He finished with a game-high 22 points.

In the second half, freshman guard Amir Rashad and sophomore post Dannon Wafer gave the Cardinals and inside-outside threat and allowed them to hang around the lead.

After being down five, 60-55, with 14:13 left in the game, the Cardinals went on a 15-6 run to move into a 70-66 lead with 9:51 remaining on a Rashad three-pointer.

TVCC’s last lead was 76-74 on a Rashad three-point play on a layup and free throw.

Jamie Vanderbeeken, Malcolm Thomas and Butler combined forces for the bulk of the Apaches’ scoring in the second half. Thomas finished with 18 points and Vanderbeeken 16.

The Cardinals played the final 6:35 without freshman guard Mike Pugh, who picked up his fifth foul on a charge. Pugh left the game with 13 points, including three three-pointers.

Tyler led 45-39 at the half.

The Apaches were 19-of-30 from the free throw line. TVCC was 9-of-19.

The Cardinals outshot Tyler 30-28 from the floor and was 10-of-33 from three-point range. In the end, free throws made the difference.

Rashad had 18 points and Wafer 16.

Tyler (17-1, 11-1) moved into a share of the conference lead with Paris with the win. Paris fell 70-65 to Navarro.

TVCC tumbled to 10-10 overall and 5-7 in the conference.

The Cardinals travel Saturday to Pasadena to play San Jacinto. Game time is 4 p.m.


TYLER (83) — Alan Branch 4; Jamie Vanderbeeken 16; Joseph Fulce 14; Jimmy Butler 21; William Kossangue 9; Malcom Thomas 18

TVCC (79) — Amir Rashad 18; Jay Smith 22; Mike Pugh 13; Dannon Wafer 16; Kristian Kuhn 5; Torrey DeGrate 1; Trent Brownlee 2; Jeremy Grimball 2

Halftime Score: Tyler 45, TVCC 39

Three-Pointers: Tyler 7-24 — Thomas (3), Vanderbeeken (2), Kossangue (2). TVCC 10-33 — Smith (6), Pugh (3), Rashad

Turnovers: Tyler 15. TVCC 18

Free Throws: Tyler 19-30 (Butler 9-13). TVCC 9-19

Team Fouls: Tyler 16. TVCC 24

Fouled Out: Tyler 1 (Fulce). TVCC 2 (Pugh, Kuhn)

Technical Fouls: Tyler-none. TVCC-none

Records: Tyler 17-1, 11-1. TVCC 10-10, 5-7

Estimated Attendance: 750

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