HUTCHINSON, Kansas — The second-seeded South Plains College men's basketball team fell the No. 3 Vincennes 85-67 Friday in the Final Four of the NJCAA Div. I Men's Basketball National Tournament at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
South Plains finishes the year 28-6 and reached the Final Four for the third consecutive season.
Despite shooting over 43 percent from the field, a 14-4 turnover margin was too much to overcome as the Trailblazers (33-2) capitalized with 18 points from 14 turnovers from South Plains. Sophomore Gaige Prim, who was forced to sit after picking up his fourth foul early in the second half led all scorers with 29 points and 15 rebounds, 13 boards coming on the defensive end as the 6-9 forward poured in 10 of 16 shots from the hardwood.
Trailing 38-31 at the half, South Plains quickly erased the deficit and tied the game at 43 on a pair of Prim' free throws with 16:31 to play in the second half. Deadlocked at 47 all with just over 14 minutes remaining, Vincennes would use an 11-1 run capped by a Kevin Osawe' 3-pointer to take a 58-48 lead with 12:22 to go.
Chris Orlina brought the Texans back within seven on a free throw with 11:50 left, but a 13-6 run from the Trailblazers opened their lead to 71-57 with just over eight minutes to play as Vincennes shot 45 percent in the second half and 44.4 percent from behind the arc.
Orlina capped his final game with the Texans with 14 points and three boards, dropping in 4 of 9 shots from the field over 35 minutes. Deon Barrett netted seven points while Jonah Antonio finished with six points and four rebounds for South Plains.
Vincennes shot a 41.4 percent clip from the floor and were 7 of 16 from the 3-point line and 20 of 29 from the charity stripe. The Trailblazers netted 16 points on second-chance opportunities and scored 26 points inside the paint in the contest.
Osawe led Vincennes with 22 points and eight rebounds, sinking 8 of 16 shots from the field and went 5-for-9 from the free throw line. Keith Clemons poured in 19 points and four rebounds while George Dixon bucketed 14 points and Leny Francis dropped in 10.