Provided by South Plains College
Yanick Moreira and Stanton Kidd scored game highs of 20 points apiece and the NJCAA No. 1 ranked South Plains College Texans defeated New Mexico JC 89-73 Saturday afternoon in front of a spirited crowd at the Lubbock Christian University Rip Griffin Center. The Texans remain undefeated with a 31-0 record and now have a date with Howard College in the Region 5 championship game 2 p.m. Sunday, March 11.
The Texans began the game somewhat flat and found themselves trailing 17-10 eight minutes into the contest.
Marshall Henderson hit his first 3 on the next possession and South Plains began scratching back, tying the game at 22 when Greg Gainey completed a three-point play in the first possession following the second media timeout of the first half.
Following a successful 2-of-2 trip to the free throw line by Devonte Smith, Henderson stole the ball from T-Bird Desmond Lee and fed Gainey for a huge dunk that gave South Plains their first lead of the game with 4:58 remaining in the opening half.
Gainey was assessed a technical foul for hanging on the rim. New Mexico's Marvin Binney made both free throws to tie the game.
It would be the final time the Texans would not own the lead as they went on a 9-0 run that began with two free throws by Gainey followed by a deep 3 by Henderson that resulted in a four-point play after NMJC's Robert Turner was whistled for a foul. Deshaunt Walker capped the run with a 3-point goal of his own to give the Texans their largest lead of the half, 35-26.
New Mexico cut their deficit to four, but by the time the buzzer sounded South Plains owned an 8-point lead, 43-35.
Kidd and Moreira scored four-points each to help South Plains to a 12-point lead in the opening minutes of the second half of play. A 10-3 New Mexico run made it a five point game as the clock wound to the midway point of the final period.
Back-to-back buckets by Moreira would push the Texan advantage back to nine and Moreira would strike again with 6:02 to go in the game to give the Texans their biggest lead of the game of 13 points during an 8-2 Texan scoring run in which Moreira also recorded one of his game high four blocked shots.
SPC's next bucket put an end to eight consecutive T-Bird points that cut the Texan lead to only six with fewer than five minutes to go in regulation.
The T-Birds would get no closer as South Plains would dominate the remainder of the game, thanks in large part to making 13-of-14 free throw attempts down the stretch.
The 16 point margin of victory was the Texans largest of the game and came as Henderson was trying to run the clock out. New Mexico chose to continue defending aggressively so Henderson tossed an alley-oop to Kidd. New Mexico would turn the ball over on the next possession, this time allowing South Plains to run the clock out ending the game and giving the Texans their third victory over the T-Birds this season.
Moreira just missed a double-double, grabbing nine rebounds to go along with his 20 points and four blocks. Kidd had another efficient night shooting the ball making 8-of-10 shots. Henderson was hounded defensively the entire game, but still managed 17 points. Devonte Smith chipped in with 12 points and also dished out six assists.
The Texans shot 50-percent from the field, but the stat of the night might very well have been the 34-of-38 (.895) free throw attempts made. In comparison, New Mexico made only 17-of-27 (.630).
New Mexico out-rebounded the Texans by a 34-29 margin, including 16-9 on the offensive end. Texan head coach Steve Green said it was due to players being out of position and is something they will have to rectify before Sunday's championship game.
South Plains will now have to defeat a Howard College for a third time in order to advance to the NJCAA National tournament held Mach 20-24 in Hutchinson, Kan.
The Hawks rode an early 14 point advantage to defeat Odessa College 73-59 in the other semifinal game held at 12 p.m.
"I think it is a great opportunity to play a very good team that played (today) as well as anyone in the tournament," Steve Green said. "We are looking forward to the challenge but, believe me, it will be a heck of a challenge. This is a different Howard team than we played the last two times."
Sunday's Region 5 championship game can be seen live online at www.psblive.com with Bill Brownell calling the courtside action. KLVT 1230 AM will carry the game locally on the radio, and online at www.klvtradio.com.
NEW MEXICO (23-9)
Ryan Okwudibonye 1-2 0-0 2, Dequan Hicks 3-6 2-6 8, Alex Phillips 1-7 0-0 2, J.J. Davenport 1-4 6-6 8, Chris Dees 1-1 0-0 2, Robert Turner 2-5 1-2 6, Alexander Ovcharenko 1-2 0-0 3, Desmond Lee 6-16 4-6 17, Marvin Binney 4-7 4-5 13, Lorelle Waters 6-10 0-2 12. Totals 26-60 17-27 73
SOUTH PLAINS (31-0)
Greg Gainey 3-5 3-3 9, Stanton Kidd 8-10 4-4 20, Derrell Edwards 0-1 0-0 0, Deshaunt Walker 1-3 2-2 5, Anthony Walker 0-1 0-0 0, Tymell Murphy 1-4 4-4 6, Marshall Henderson 4-10 7-7 17, Devonte Smith 2-5 8-8 12, Corey Spence 0-0 0-0 0, Yanick Moreira 7-13 6-10 20. Totals 26-52 34-38 89
SCORE BY PERIODS 1st 2nd TOTAL
NEW MEXICO 35 38 73
SOUTH PLAINS 43 46 89
FG%: NEW MEXICO .433, SOUTH PLAINS .500. 3-pt FG:NEW MEXICO 4-14 (Phillips 0-5, Turner 1-2, Ovcharenko 1-2, Lee 1-3, Binney 1-2), SOUTH PLAINS 3-14 (Kidd 0-1, Edwards 0-1, Walker 1-2, Henderson 2-8, Smith 0-1, Moreira 0-1). Rebounds: NEW MEXICO 34 (Lee 7), SOUTH PLAINS 29 (Moreira 9). Fouls NEW MEXICO 29, SOUTH PLAINS 20. Fouled out: Hicks . Technical: GAINEY, Turner, HENDERSON. Assists: NEW MEXICO 4 (Lee 2, Binney 2), SOUTH PLAINS 17 (Smith 6). Steals: NEW MEXICO 4 (Lee 2), SOUTH PLAINS 5 (Kidd 2, Henderson 2). Blocked shots: NEW MEXICO 1 (Hicks 1), SOUTH PLAINS 6 (Moreira 4). Turnovers: NEW MEXICO 14, SOUTH PLAINS 8.