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Men’s College Basketball: South Suburban wins Region IV-B crown, gets berth in nationals

Updated: May 11, 2014 3:19PM



South Suburban College’s Antonio Levy sent a message early in Saturday’s game. It was going to be his night.

The Thornton product scored 10 points in the first five minutes, 24 in the first half and finished with 35 as South Suburban earned a trip to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament by rolling past Triton 93-75 in the Region IV-B championship at Elgin Community College.

“I just got in a little zone,” Levy said. “I got some shots up early and got a feel for it. Coach (John Pigatti) told me this was going to be my game.”

Jalen Brown added 16 points and five rebounds and Anthony Strickland had 13 points for the Bulldogs (28-5), who will compete in the 16-team National Tournament — which begins March 18 in Danville — for the third straight season.

Levy, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, led a three-point barrage that helped South Suburban put the game all but out of reach by halftime.

The Bulldogs went 8-of-16 from beyond the arc in the opening half, Levy nailing four and Brown three as South Suburban took a 47-30 lead to the break.

Levy’s fast start spurred the Bulldogs to a 19-7 lead six minutes in. The lead was just 26-25 with seven minutes before the break when South Suburban buried four three-pointers in less than three minutes for a 12-0 run.

They never looked back, leading by at least 13 points the rest of the way.

“I told (Levy) he was going to have to do it defensively on (Triton’s Paul Beene, who finished with a team-high 24 points) and do it offensively,” Pigatti said. “He worked really hard all week and his game was the epitome of what can happen when you work hard.”

With Triton (24-9) trying to hang around late, Levy and Brown delivered the final daggers with a pair of three-pointers that extended the lead to 76-59 with 5:35 to play.

“It had a lot to do with everybody stepping up in the clutch,” Brown said. “We knew what was on the line and everyone was ready to go. It’s a great feeling.”

South Suburban shot 50 percent (31-of-62) from the field, 52 percent (13-of-25) from beyond the arc and 86 percent (18-of-21) from the free-throw line.

Johnnie Stevens finished with 12 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs.

“I’m so happy for the kids with all they’ve been through this year,” said Pigatti, who suffered a mini-stroke earlier in the season. “They dealt with a lot of adversity, and I’m really happy for them.”



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