HUTCHINSON, Kansas — For the third time in the last four years, the South Plains College men's basketball team finds itself in the semifinals of the NJCAA Men's Basketball National Tournament, vowing for a chance to play for a national crown.
South Plains advanced to the Final Four with an 80-75 win over Connors State on Thursday, and now await a matchup with a familiar foe in the Eastern Florida State College Titans on Friday at 6 p.m. with the winner advancing to Saturday's national title game at 7 p.m.
South Plains has won six straight to get to this point including four wins against teams ranked inside the top 20 in the final NJCAA regular season poll, including wins over No. 4 Salt Lake and No. 7 Odessa College. Averaging 80.6 points per game and shooting 48.1 percent from the field on the year, the Texans have shown a balanced attack on the offensive end in their first three games in Kansas and will look to freshman point guard Keith McGee who has scored in double figures in seven of his last eight outings including a 17-point performance against Connors State.
South Plains will also look to 6-foot-6 swingman Deshawn Corprew to create opportunities on both ends of the floor on Friday. Corprew is averaging 11.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and has scored in double figures in three of the last four games including a 26-point performance against Odessa in the Region V title game on March 10.
South Plains will look to slow a Titans offense averaging 88.9 points per game and is second in the country with 50.8 rebounds per contest. Eastern Florida State is led by sophomore guard Ahmed Ali who leads the Titans in scoring with 18.1 points per game. Michel Nuga and Nathanael Jack both averaging over 11 points per game while sophomore forward Eli Abaev leads the Titans on the glass, averaging 8.8 points and 9.6 boards per game.
The second seminal matchup on Friday will see Southern Idaho take on Vincennes at 8 p.m. Southern Idaho knocked off second-seeded Northwest Florida State 107-93 on Thursday while Vincennes took down Florida Southwestern 76-68 to reach the semifinals.
Watch the Final Four live: http://www.njcaatv.com/landing/index