VU Men's Basketball earns spot in National Championship Tournament - Athletics

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VU Men's Basketball earns spot in National Championship Tournament

INA, Ill. - The second-seeded Vincennes University Men's Basketball Team upset No. 1 Seed Southwestern Illinois Friday night to capture the NJCAA District 16 Men's Basketball Tournament championship. The tournament was played at Rend Lake College in Ina, IL.

VU's three tournament wins over Wabash Valley, John A. Logan and Southwestern Illinois were intense, pressure-packed contests, even if the final scores didn't reflect it. in some cases. The Trailblazers got a boost in all games from freshman Chris Darrington, who was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, but VU also got plenty of contributions from others. In addition to Darrington's team-high 19 points, freshman Nate Hansen finished with 17 points and sophomores Justin King and Makur Puou had 13 and 10 points, respectively. Sophomore Darren Groves pulled down eight rebounds while King had six boards. Puou blocked five Southwestern Illinois shots.

The game was tied at 45-45 with 14 minutes left in regulation.

Darrington was 6-for-6 at the free throw line late in the game. Bell made all three of his second half free throw attempts, King was 3-for-4 at the stripe. Hansen hit 2-of-3 when he was fouled on a trey attempt to start the free throw party. But the Trailblazers executed well overall. VU had only six turnovers.

The NJCAA Div. I Men’s Basketball Tournament is comprised of 16 districts, with each winner advancing to the National Tournament in Hutchinson, KS.   Eight additional teams will qualify for the tournament along with the 16 District Champions. The 24-team national tournament will consist of 16 district champions, four "zone" qualifiers and four at-large selections. For this year's tournament, the four "zone" teams will come from districts 3, 6, 11 and 15. The four "at-large" teams would be selected by the NJCAA Div. I Men’s Basketball at-large selection committee.

The tournament is a single-elimination bracket with the only consolation contest taking place on Saturday evening (3rd place) prior to the national championship game. All teams will be seeded in the bracket at the direction of the committee, with the top eight seeds receiving first round byes.

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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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