Men’s College Basketball: South Suburban reaches NJCAA Division II national consolation final
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media March 21, 2014 5:50PM
Updated: March 22, 2014 4:20PM
South Suburban broke out of its shooting slump in a big way Friday.
The Bulldogs buried 14 three-pointers, with Antonio Levy and Johnnie Stevens combining for 13 of them, as South Suburban rallied for a 97-96 overtime win over Garrett (Md.) in a NJCAA Division II National Tournament consolation semifinal in Danville.
“I think over the final five minutes (of regulation) and overtime the kids said, ‘We’re going to win this for us,’ ” South Suburban coach John Pigatti said. “They decided they’ve come all this way, it was time to step up.”
The Bulldogs (30-6) rallied from an 84-80 deficit over the final 63 seconds of regulation to force overtime, opened the extra session on a 10-2 run and held on to advance to take on St. Louis Community College in the seventh-place game at noon Saturday.
Levy (Thornton) scored 34 points and Stevens added 24 for the Bulldogs.
South Suburban scored on its first five possessions of overtime and led 95-87 after two free throws by Korbin McClain (14 points, 8 rebounds).
Garrett closed to within 95-94 before Levy made two free throws with 9.3 seconds left. The Bulldogs then fouled intentionally with 6.7 seconds left and Garrett’s Van Jones hit two from the line to make it 97-96.
Garrett had a chance in the final seconds after Anthony Strickland missed two free throws for South Suburban, but could not get off a clean shot.
South Suburban prevailed despite Garrett going 39-of-48 from the line. The Bulldogs were 7-of-16.
“We had 50 free throws against us in the first game,” Pigatti said. “In the second game, I got a technical and there were only 19. I didn’t get a technical (Friday) and they shoot 48 free throws. It’s frustrating for the kids right now.”
Levy’s three-pointer with 1:03 left in regulation followed by a putback from Marius Hopkins (Crete-Monee) gave the Bulldogs an 85-84 lead. Garrett’s DeAndre Davis split two free throws with 24 seconds to go to force overtime.
Stevens kept South Suburban alive in the second half, scoring all 10 of his team’s points between the 10-minute mark and the five-minute mark. His three-pointer with 5:22 to go got the Bulldogs to within 72-69.
“Honestly, I’ve been disappointed in my play before this,” Stevens said. “Coach told me I needed to step up and shoot the ball, and my teammates did a great job getting it to me. The basket did seem kind of big (Friday).”