HUTCHINSON, Kansas—Jordan Brangers scored 18 points and Jahlil Tripp chipped in 14 points and hauled in 10 boards as the second-seeded South Plains College Texans downed the No. 15 seed Panola College Ponies 88-84 on Tuesday at the Hutchinson Sports Arena in the second round of the 2017 NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Tournament.
"I was able to hit a few shots to start off the game and kind of got cold there going into the second half," Brangers said. "Panola is a very good team and they were face-guarding me basically the entire game. I was able to hit some shots late in the second half and kind of got going for us."
Montell McRae was 5-of-6 from the floor and finished with 14 points in 23 minutes for the Texans(30-1) while Grantham Gillard scored 12 points including 4 3-pointers coming off the bench. Roberto Gallinat, Shawntrez Davis and Justice Green each totaled eight points for South Plains while Josh Webster dished out a game-high five assists and chipped in four points.
South Plains dominated the interior outrebounding the Ponies 46-32 on the glass resulting in 22 second chance points. The Texans used a 45 percent shooting mark from the 3-point line in the first half to jump out to a 41-36 lead at the break. The Ponies shot just 10 percent from the perimeter and 36 percent from the floor in the first half. Gillard led the Texans with 12 first half points knocking down four of his five 3-point attempts.
"I got some great passes from my teammates and I just tried to shoot the ball and spread the floor for us," Gillard said. "My teammates found me when I got open and I just shot it. Putting all the hard work in during practice, it feels good to come off the bench and have some success. We're going to have a day off tomorrow, then wake up on Thursday and its game day. We're going to come out and try to play our style of basketball and get another win."
Brangers and Tripp led the Texans offensively in the second half as the duo combined for 21 points over the final 20 minutes. South Plains took full advantage of their opportunities from the charity stripe sinking 11-of-12 shots from the line. With the win, the Texans advance to the round of eight and will play Vincennes College on Thursday at 2 p.m.
"Coach Green knew I was going to get some shots up and help us out in the second half," Brangers said. "Montell played really well tonight and battle their big man from Panola. Shawntrez was able to get us some really big minutes off the bench, and for them to play like the did tonight really helped us. We're really going to focus defensively going into the next game. We know we can score the ball and out points on the board, but if we can't stop people it's going to be hard to win the whole thing."