College Basketball: South Suburban knocks off No. 1 Cincinnati State
By Jeff Vorva For Sun-Times media December 29, 2013 7:32PM
South Suburban College’s Giovantae Hazelett and Cincinnati State’s Trent Donald (No. 15) are restrained after the two got into a verbal disagreement Sunday afternoon.
Updated: December 29, 2013 8:52PM
The way things were looking, South Suburban College’s quest to get back to No. 1 in the nation among junior college Division II schools appeared it would hit a roadblock started by a hot temper and an ice storm a few weeks ago.
But No. 3 South Suburban, which was ranked No. 1 by the National Junior College Athletic Association from Dec. 3 to 9, stunned No. 1 Cincinnati State 75-72 Sunday in South Holland despite playing without leading scorer Antonio Levy, who was serving a one-game suspension for receiving two technical fouls in his previous game.
“I didn’t think we had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning this game to be honest with you,” Bulldogs coach John Pigatti said. “But our kids showed a lot of heart.”
Sophomore Jalen Brown, who averaged 12.6 points and 8.2 rebounds heading into the game, exploded for 22 points to help pace the Bulldogs (13-2).
“(Saturday night) the Heat played while LeBron (James) was out and Chris Bosh stepped up and dropped 37 and had a game-winner,” said the 6-foot-8 Brown, who hails from Buchanan, Mich. “I said I needed to play the Chris Bosh role today. I needed to be aggressive and knock down my shots.”
Levy was whistled for two technical fouls and ejected in a 62-59 victory over Lake Michigan College on Dec. 17. He was supposed to serve a one-game suspension for the technicals on Dec. 20 as mandated by the NJCAA in a road game against Grand Rapids Community College. That game was postponed because of an ice storm, and the scoring machine was forced to sit out Sunday. The Thornton graduate is averaging 19.4 points per game.
The Surge headed into the game averaging 102.1 points per game but was held down in the first half as the Bulldogs had a 41-32 lead at the break. Brown had 16 first-half points.
The Bulldogs kept their distance for most of the second half but the Surge (13-2) made a final surge in the final two minutes to close the gap to 73-72 with 1:04 left. After a Bulldogs turnover, the Surge had the ball and was looking for the lead but SSC’s Korbin McClain came up with a steal that led to a basket by former Crete-Monee standout Marius Hopkins with 24 seconds left to seal the win.
McClain had 14 points and seven rebounds. Charles Knowles, a former Thornton player, added 10 points.
Winston Grays led Cincinnati State with 24 points, including nine in the final 2:11.
The next time the rankings come out, the Bulldogs likely will rank second behind Dean College (Mass.), which has a 13-0 mark.
SSC visits Triton College at 3 p.m. Saturday.