DANVILLE, Ill. – March 19 – The Erie Community College men’s basketball team finished in fourth place at the 2011 NJCAA Division II National Tournament after falling 102-98 in overtime to Triton (Ill.) Community College Saturday in the third-place game at Danville Area Community College.
The fourth-place finish is the highest finish for the Kats in four trips to the NJCAA Division II tourney. ECC finishes the season 28-4.
ECC, which had all five starters score in double figures, was led by sophomore forward God’s Gift Achiuwa (Port Harcourt, River States, Nigeria) who recorded game-high totals with 25 points and 14 rebounds for his 23rd double-double of the season. Freshman guard/forward Dequan Jones (Brooklyn/Pacific) added 21 points while sophomore forward Tyshawn Edwards (Buffalo/Grover Cleveland) had 16 points. Edwards finishes his ECC career with 960 points.
Sophomore forward Isaiah Boyd (Brooklyn/Canarsie) had 14 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for his first double-double and freshman guard Jahmill Jenkins (Elizabeth, N.J./Elizabeth) had a career-high 12 points, all coming in the first half.
Achiuwa was named to the all-tournament squad after recording 61 points and 39 rebounds. Lincoln College, which defeated ECC in the semifinals, won the national title.
ECC built a 13-9 lead when Achiuwa hit a three-point field goal at the top of the key at 14:55. Triton (Ill.) CC, which finished 31-6 and was the tournament’s fifth seed, eventually took a 28-23 lead after a three-pointer by Esteban Vega with 9:43 left in the half. ECC rallied and took a 36-35 lead when Achiuwa sank two foul shots with 6:17 left. The Kats stretched the lead to six, 48-42, after Achiuwa scored with 3:08 to play. Triton closed the half with a 11-3 run for a 53-51 halftime lead.
The Kats trailed by seven, 64-57, with 16:16 remaining in regulation, before a 7-0 run, capped by Jones, tied the score 66-66 with 14:28 to play. ECC took a 79-75 lead on a putback by Achiuwa with 7:16 to play. Another offensive rebound basket by Achiuwa gave ECC an 89-82 lead with 3:36 left. However, Triton closed the second half with a 7-0 run to force overtime.
Triton built a 97-93 lead before Jones hit a three-pointer with 1:46 left overtime to make it 97-96. Jones drove the lane with 29.5 seconds left to score and make it 99-98. After two Triton free throws, Jones’ three-pointer from the right wing rimmed out and Triton CC got the rebound.
Bryant Orange led Triton CC with 24 points.
Achiuwa finishes his career with 1,092 points and 765 rebounds.