Men’s College Basketball: South Suburban advances to fifth-place game in NJCAA Division II tourney
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media March 21, 2013 9:52PM
Updated: March 21, 2013 10:53PM
South Suburban College’s national championship dreams ended in heartbreaking fashion Wednesday night, losing a 22-point second-half lead and falling 85-83 in overtime to Rend Lake College.
So with a quick turnaround for Thursday’s game in the consolation bracket, Bulldogs coach John Pigatti issued his team a simple challenge.
“I told the kids that these next couple of games aren’t about me,” Pigatti said. “They’re all about them and their character. They ended up showing a lot of character.”
The Bulldogs came out angry Thursday, rolling to a 47-22 halftime lead and cruising to a 75-46 win over Central Community College (Neb.) in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Tournament in Danville.
South Suburban (32-4) advances to the fifth-place game at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Mike Harris scored 17 of his-game 22 points in the first half for the Bulldogs. Bryce Walker added 18 points and seven rebound and King Bradley had 10 points.
“(Wednesday) was pretty tough,” Harris said. “Coach Pigatti really got it in our minds that if we had any character and pride we’d come out and win this game (Thursday).
“I really tried to come out and lead the guys. We got off to a hot start and never looked back.”
South Suburban was 17-of-33 from the field in the first half and finished 27-of-64.
Michael Lee (T.F. South) had nine points and five rebounds and Kadeem Thornton (Hillcrest) seven points and seven rebounds.
James Spencer had 14 points to pace Central, which was just 18-of-62 from the field and committed 21 turnovers.
“We made some adjustments offensively,” Pigatti said. “We learned from (Wednesday night). We started screening better and we got some back-door cuts.
“This is one of the few tournaments where you can lose a game and still end with a win. We want to take advantage of that and get fifth.”