College Basketball: South Suburban stumbles vs. Rend Lake in OT in NJCAA Div. II quarterfinal
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media March 20, 2013 10:44PM
Updated: March 21, 2013 8:43PM
After South Suburban College let a 22-point second-half lead slip away and lost in overtime in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Tournament quarterfinals, Bulldogs coach John Pigatti summed things up succinctly.
“It was just a total nightmare,” he said.
No. 12 Rend Lake College, of downstate Ina, scored the final 10 points of regulation to force overtime and pulled out a shocking 85-83 victory over No. 7 South Suburban in Danville.
With the game tied at 83, Rend Lake’s Jeril Taylor (19 points) drove to the basket and drew a foul with five seconds left in overtime, hitting both free throws.
Thornton product Stefan Beard had his shot blocked on the other end, completing the improbable comeback for Rend Lake.
Bryce Walker scored 25 points to lead South Suburban (31-4), which can still finish as high as fifth in the tournament and will meet Central Community College (Neb.) in a consolation game at 3 p.m. Thursday.
Mike Harris added 24 points and Michael Lee (T.F. South) had 11 points and seven rebounds.
After Anthony Strickland hit two free throws to give the Bulldogs a 75-65 lead with 2:39 left in regulation, Rend Lake went on a stunning 10-0 run, scoring the first eight in a 63-second span during which South Suburban turned the ball over three times.
The Bulldogs still had a chance to win it when Henry Davis grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled with 3.1 seconds left, but Davis missed both free throws.
Dawson Verhines nearly won it for Rend Lake with a heave from beyond halfcourt that bounced in and out at the buzzer.
“Our guys just panicked,” Pigatti said. “We didn’t execute. We lost our composure and we rushed shots instead of running the clock.”
Walker scored 16 points in the first 12 minutes as the Bulldogs raced to a 29-12 lead. They led 37-24 at halftime and extended it to 57-35 on Mike Harris’ trey with 13:01 to go.
It was all downhill from there for South Suburban.
“(Rend Lake) plays more players than we do and we got worn out,” Pigatti said. “The bottom line is we didn’t answer the challenge.”