Opener slips away from VU men, 68-64, at NJCAA national tournament - Athletics

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Opener slips away from VU men, 68-64, at NJCAA national tournament

HUTCHINSON, Kan. – The Vincennes University Men’s Basketball Team’s season came to an end Tuesday when the No. 14 seed Trailblazers dropped a 68-64 decision to the 19th-seeded Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Golden Norsemen in the first round of the NJCAA Div. I Men’s National Championship Tournament in Hutchinson, KS.

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M will meet No. 3 seed Georgia Highlands in the second round on Wednesday.

The Trailblazers (26-8) dealt with cold shooting from beyond the 3-point arc (5-of-26) throughout the day Tuesday, but won the rebounding battle, 41-33, and managed to battle to a tie game late in the contest. VU had a chance to go ahead in the final 30 seconds before a crucial turnover wiped out any chance at a victory and advancing to the tournament’s second round.

Freshmen Jeremiah Bell and Chris Darrington both scored 14 points to pace the Trailblazers. Sophomore Makur Puou finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, freshman Nate Hansen had nine points and sophomore Stuart Jackson chipped in with eight points and six rebounds. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (23-9) was led by sophomore Shawn Nottingham’s game-high 20 points.

VU played catch-up much of the game but scratched its way to a 46-46 tie near the 12:00 mark in the second half. Despite the fact that Darrington’s third foul inside 10 minutes to play signaled a 9-3 foul discrepancy in the Golden Norsemen’s favor in the half, the Trailblazers passed the 5:00 mark trailing by only three points.

From there, the contest was tight and anyone’s ballgame until the final seconds.

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M was up 58-53 when Bell was fouled as he drove to the rim and hit both free throws to cut the lead to three again. The Golden Norsemen missed a shot and VU had the ball with a chance to tie it again but Bell was called for traveling. On the ensuing Northeastern Oklahoma A&M possession, Darrington was whistled for his fourth foul and Logan McIntosh sank one from the stripe to make it a two-possession lead again.

Bell missed a trey and Nottingham buried a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 62-55. The teams traded a free throw each before Hansen drained a trey to pull VU within four at 63-59. The Trailblazers immediately called timeout.

After the break, Nottingham scored again to make it 65-59 before Hansen went back to work. The freshman from Evansville pulled up for another 3-point attempt and was bumped to earn three free throws. Hansen was good on all three from the line to tighten the game up yet again at 65-62 with the Golden Norsemen clinging to a lead.

A short time later, McIntosh was off the mark from 3-point range and Puou hauled in the rebound to give the Trailblazers a chance to tie the game with a trey of their own. Jackson scored inside for VU to make it 65-64 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, but the Golden Norsemen’s Jaylen Lowe was fouled and he hit 1-of-2 at the line to provide a 66-64 lead.

VU inbounded the ball and Bell started to move the ball up the floor against some token Northeastern Oklahoma A&M pressure but the ball struck Bell’s foot and rolled out of bounds to return the ball to the Golden Norsemen at their end of the floor. Nottingham was fouled as the Trailblazers attempted to get the ball back but Nottingham canned both free throws with 19 seconds left for the final score.

VU Men's Basketball-Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Box Score

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