Tyler Junior College escapes with 66-61 win over LSCPA
PORT ARTHUR – Lamar State College Port Arthur was within reach of the prize but could never get a good enough grip as Tyler Junior College escaped with a 66-61 win at the Carl Parker Center in the NJCAA Region 14 opener for both teams.
The Seahawks, now 7-1 on the season, struggled from the field, finishing at 32 percent shooting. In spite of the paltry percentage, the Hawks still stayed close through the first 20 minutes thanks to a stifling defense that forced 15 turnovers that resulted in eight points. At the halftime break, LSCPA trailed by just two points, 30-28, thanks to strong performances by Chol Luk, who had eight points, and John Comeaux, who had seven.
“We struggled a little bit shooting and we rushed a few shots, but we were in the game … we competed,” Seahawks head coach Lance Madison said. “Tyler had a lot of experience coming back from last year and you could see that at times.”
The Apaches, now 8-0, had three players standing better than 6-foot-6 among their starting five, including 6-11 center Davante Cooper. The Seahawks battled even with the bigger TJC crew, though, fighting through a first half that saw the Apaches hold a mere 21-19 advantage on the boards. Even through the second half, when the Apaches extended their lead to as much as 12 points, the Seahawks battled hard in the paint, cutting that lead to three with 4:09 left in the game.
With 3:55 left in the game, Tyler hit a free throw to go up by four again but then both teams went cold as no one could find the bottom of the net over the next nearly three minutes. Tyler’s Eden Ewing broke the stalemate with a layup at 1:15 and LSCPA answered with a couple of free throws by Comeaux. Another jumper by Tyler put the Apaches up six and a couple more Comeaux free throws cut the lead back to four. Comeaux sliced the Tyler defense with 19 seconds left to bring the Seahawks to within two points. The Hawks were forced to foul and Tyler hit its free throws to hold on and take the victory.
Serbian sophomore Petar Radojicic finished with another double-double performance, scoring 14 points with 12 rebounds for the Seahawks, while Keion Farrington added 13 points, Chol Luk 11 points and Akol Deng 10 points and seven rebounds. Jaquan McCauley of Tyler JC was the game’s leading scorer with 19 points, while teammate Kwinton Hinson had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” Madison said. “We have to pick our heads up and get back to practice.”
The Hawks take on Trinity Valley Community College next with a road trip to Athens, Texas on Saturday, December 3. The Cardinals were ranked No. 3 in the nation in the NJCAA preseason polls. That game tips off at 4 p.m