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Double-overtime loss leaves VU as district co-champs, tournament's #2 seed

The Vincennes University Men's Basketball Team lost an outright NJCAA District 16 regular-season championship Friday night when the Trailblazers dropped a 109-104 double-overtime decision to visiting Shawnee at the VU P.E. Complex in the regular-season finale for both teams. The loss, coupled with Southwestern Illinois' 77-72 win Friday night over Lake Land, means the Trailblazers and Southwestern Illinois will be the district's co-champions and Southwestern Illinois' two wins over VU make the Trailblazers the No. 2 seed in the upcoming District 16 Tournament at Rend Lake College in Ina, IL.

VU (23-7/16-4 in District 16) will begin the post-season Wednesday, March 2, with a 7 p.m. ("Vincennes time") tip-off vs. the winner of Monday's play-in game between the tournament's No. 7 and No. 10 seeds.

Friday's loss, in which freshman guard Jeremiah Bell scored 28 points and freshman guard Nate Hansen had 22, also wiped out the Trailblazers' chance to garner the VU men's program's 600th win on the P.E. Complex floor since the facility opened in 1974.

VU had a 23-point lead with just over 10 minutes to play in regulation, but the Trailblazers missed 23-of-44 free throws in the second half and two overtimes. VU was only 28-of-51 at the stripe overall and the free throw shooting woes helped Shawnee outscore VU 50-36 in the second half. As a result, near the 1:00 mark in regulation, the Trailblazer lead had been sliced to 72-67 after Shawnee freshman guard Satchel McDonald, who scored a game-high 30 points, hit a 3-pointer. VU called timeout and, on the ensuing possession, VU freshman Theo Holloway was fouled and hit two free throws. But the momentum for the Trailblazers was short-lived as McDonald hit another trey to make it 74-70 VU.

Shawnee eventually tied the game at 77-all with 3.3 seconds to play. VU almost won the game at the end of regulation but freshman Theo Holloway's heave at the buzzer from near midcourt bounced off the backboard and rim.

VU scored first in the initial overtime period when Holloway drained a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 80-77 VU with 4:18 on the clock. The Trailblazers still led, 85-83, with 1:29 to play in overtime when another McDonald trey put Shawnee ahead, 86-85. The two teams scored 13 points each and battled to a 90-90 tie before the Saints ran the clock down to 6.4 seconds. At that points, Shawnee's Michael Miller, who had 29 points, missed a runner and VU's Justin King slapped the rebound across midcourt as time expired to bring on the second extra period.

In the second overtime, Hansen buried a trey to stake VU to a 93-90 lead and the Trailblazers remained out front until Shawnee sophomore guard Michael Schoffner scored as he was fouled and converted the conventional three-point play to put the Saints back in front, 96-95. After Hansen drove and scored, the Saints' freshman guard Ralph Bellamy and Miller stepped up after McDonald and teammates Jay Harvey, Kendall Ivy and Javonte' Ellis had fouled out.

Bellamy scored as he was fouled and knocked down a free throw to knot the game at 98-all with just a little more than two minutes to go in the second overtime. Later, Miller hit a trey and Bellamy grabbed an offensive rebound and got bumped on the follow-up attempt to get to the line and hit a pair of free throws to move the Saints ahead, 103-100 near the 1:00 mark. Bellamy added two more from the foul line to extend the lead to 105-100. The Trailblazers missed out on a couple of offensive opportunities with a trey that was off the mark and another jumper after an offensive rebound. Shawnee was able to tack on two more on a pair of Miller free throws and it was 107-100 with 23.3 seconds to go.

Holloway and sophomore Stuart Jackson were off the mark on trey attempts and Shawnee pushed the advantage to 109-101 before VU sophomore Darren Groves hit a 3-pointer at the horn for the final score of 109-104. It was Shawnee's first win ever over VU.




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The Vincennes University Athletic Department hosts Play4Kay and raises donations for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund annually. VU Women’s Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Harry Meeks has a special connection to the late Yow, who was the longtime coach at North Carolina State. He had the pleasure of meeting her while he was an assistant coach at Western Carolina University. This left a lasting impression on him and made this cause important to him and the Trailblazers.

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NJCAA spring sport cancellation

The NJCAA announced on March 16 the cancellation of all spring sport competition and all upcoming basketball championships, effective immediately, due to the evolving COVID-19 situation. Spring competition includes all practices, regular season, postseason, and national championship play.

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