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Trailblazers move step closer to District 16 crown with 84-75 win at Lake Land

MATTOON, Ill. - The Vincennes University Men's Basketball Team fought off a furious comeback attempt by host Lake Land Tuesday night and posted an 84-75 win over the Lakers to move a step closer to the Trailblazers' fourth straight District 16 regular-season championship.

The Trailblazers (23-6) got scoring career-highs from sophomore Makur Puou (19) and freshman Jordan Manse (18) and VU hit 15-of-18 free throws to go along with 17 3-pointers. Manse drilled all five of his treys in the first half on the way to 18 points in the first 20 minutes. Puou had five field goals and all six of his free throws in the first half as he and Manse led VU to a 52-36 halftime lead.

In the second half, freshmen guards Jeremiah Bell and Nate Hansen both scored 10 of the 13 points they each had and sophomore Stuart Jackson scored six of his nine.

VU was up, 58-41, at one point in the second half before the Lakers came storming back. Lake Land tied the game at 70-all on one of guard William Tinsley's eight 3-pointers. But Jackson answered with a trey of his own. The Trailblazers led 76-70 when Tinsley canned his seventh from beyond the arc to pull the hosts back within three yet again with just over 1:30 left to play. This time, Hansen responded with a 3-pointer for VU.

A short time later, Tinsley misfired from 3-point range and Hansen pulled down a key defensive rebound. Bell was fouled and began a string of five late free throws out of six attempts to help seal the win. Bell's first two from the stripe made it an 81-73 VU lead with 37 ticks left on the clock. After a Lakers turnover, Bell was fouled again and hit 1-of-2 from the line and the Trailblazers ground out the clock for the victory.

The Trailblazers will close out the regular season Friday vs. Shawnee at the VU P.E. Complex. Along with a chance to wrap up the top seed in the District 16 Tournament, VU can garner the program's 600th win on the P.E. Complex floor since the facility opened for the 1974-75 season. Finally, it will also be Sophomore Night for both the VU men and women. The ladies tip off at 5 p.m. and the men take the floor at about 7 p.m. Sophomore Night activities will take place before each game.

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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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Click here to learn more about Kay Yow and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund

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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At VU, we believe sports play an important role in the overall purpose of an educational institution. We support a well-rounded intercollegiate sports program for both men and women and have a strong presence in the NJCAA where we can claim several national championships. But we are equally proud of our individual All-American and All-American Academic athletes who have used their talent to continue their education at four-year colleges.

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