LEVELLAND — Freshman big man Jevonnie Scott scored a season-high 25 points as the South Plains College men's basketball team closed out the regular season with a 78-67 victory over Odessa College Thursday night at the Texan Dome.
South Plains caps the regular season with a 20-8 mark including a 12-4 record in the WJCAC and clinched the second seed to the NJCAA Region V Tournament March 4-7 in Abilene. The Texans will make their postseason debut on Wednesday, March 4 at 7 p.m. when they take on Collin County on the campus of Abilene Christian University.
"I thought the first 15 minutes we played as good as we have all season," South Plains head coach Steve Green said. "We shared the ball, we were aggressive and we made open shots, and if you move the ball against the zone you're going to get that. Our first round of substitutions there wasn't anyone that went in that didn't do something positive. Then, the second round was the last five minutes of the half and we got to standing a little bit and weren't quite as quick passing."
The Texans jumped out to a 44-29 lead at the break after shooting a 60.7 percent clip in the first 20 minutes. Odessa would look to scratch its way back into it as they closed the deficit to eight, 46-38 on a Tavon Jones' layup with just over 17 minutes left. Jevonnie Scott would get to the free throw line and put the Texans back up 12, 50-38 with 16:44 to play.
Scott would then extend the Texans' lead to 15, 58-43 with two more free throws with just over 13 minutes remaining. Jones would get Odessa back within 10, 61-51 with a runner with 10:31 to play as Odessa would get within striking distance on an Alphoussevni Diedhiou layup to bring the Wranglers within six, 63-57 with 7:22 to go.
Scott would answer for the Texans one more time with 4:17 to play as the 6-foot-7 forward from Canada knocked down his third three of the game to put the Texans back up 12, 69-57.
"My teammates give me confidence and I just try to get as many shots up in practice as possible," Scott said. "My shots drop in the game when I'm confident, and I felt like everything was going to drop even when it didn't. We're prepared for the region tournament and we've been locked in since the New Mexico game and have won three in a row."
Scott would finish 9 of 17 from the field and 3 of 8 from distance to go along with seven boards over 27 minutes. Freshman guard Benjamin Bayela poured in 19 points and snagged 10 rebounds, connecting on 7 of 10 shots and was 4-for-7 from distance. Rivaldo Soares finished with 11 points and six rebounds as the Texans shot 49.1 percent from the floor and 34.8 percent from the perimeter.
"Frank Phillips got us ready for this game because they sat in a two-three zone all night," Green said. "We made some passes and some of our guys thought they could make shots tonight. We were able to get some wide-open shots and slow down a little bit. Our motivation now is you lose and your season's over, and there is no guarantee at this point."