OGLESBY -- Nearing the halfway point of the second half in Sunday's NJCAA Region IV men's basketball semifinals, Black Hawk College felt as if it was right where it needed to be.|
Trailing by only four points with 10:44 left in the game at Illinois Valley Community College, the Braves were looking to make a big push. Instead, it was South Suburban zoning BHC out of the postseason with a 70-49 victory.
Switching defenses on the Braves (15-16), the 11th-ranked team in NJCAA Division II forced five consecutive turnovers and turned its four-point edge into a 12-point cushion in just over a minute's time. Black Hawk could not recover after that.
"They went to a zone press, and we turned it over five times in a row. That just killed us,'' said BHC coach Darren Bizarri. "We were frustrated. We battled on the boards, outrebounded them (44-34) and matched their physicality. But they went to a press and we just panicked.''
Led by Michael Harris's 29 points and Michael Lee's 20-point game, South Suburban (29-3) was able to ride the momentum its zone created to the finish after the Braves looked ready to battle all the way back from a 29-22 halftime deficit. BHC had 30 turnovers to South Suburban's 10.
"We burned two timeouts to try to stabilize things,'' said Bizarri. "The game was a lot closer than the final score, but you just can't turn the ball over that many times.''
Duol Mayot and Cody Cooley tallied 18 and 17 points, respectively, to pace the Braves, with Cooley adding 15 rebounds and two assists and Mayot 12 boards and three blocked shots.
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