The Chipola College Indians advanced to the semifinals of the NCJAA National Tournament after scoring a 70-49 victory over Harcum College on Thursday, March 17.
Chipola (30-5) was to face the number 1 seed Salt Lake Community College (34-1) in the first of two semifinal games at 5 p.m. CT on Friday, March 18. The second semifinal game was to follow and would feature the 11 seed Triton College (30-5) and 10 seed Northwest Florida (29-5). Those games had not been played as of press time for this edition.
The Harcum College Bears had scored triple digits in each of their first two games in the tournament but Coach Donnie Tyndall's defense had only allowed an average of 61.5 points per game all year. Chipola held the Bears to 24.2 % from the floor.
Faizon Fields and Achor Achor repeated their double-double performance from one night eariler to lead the Chipola offense. Fields led all scorers with 17 points and reeled in 12 rebounds in 25 minutes of action. Achor Achor led the way on the boards for the Indians with 14 and contributed 13 points in 20 minutes of playing time.
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Every available Chipola player saw time as Coach Tyndall was able to empty his bench in the waning minutes of the game.
The Bears jumped out to a lead in the first few minutes of the game using a pair of three-point baskets to get their offense started.
With six and half minutes expired off the clock, J.T. Warren hit a jump shot for the first two of his eight points in the game, to put the Indians in the lead, 11-10. From that point on, Chipola never trailed in the game.
From there, Chipola held Harcum scoreless for just over seven minutes but couldn't take full advantage of the shutdown on the offensive end. The Indians did manage to score eight unanswered points and built their lead to 17-10.
Harcum used a 7-2 run of its own to pull within two points of the Indians with a little more than three minutes before halftime.
Chipola scored the final six points of the first half and outscored the Bears 13-3 to start the second half.
At halftime, the Indians led by eight, holding a Harcum team that came into the game averaging 93.1 points per game to just 17 first half points.
With a little more than five minutes played in the second half, Chipola built its lead out to 38-20 before the Bears used a 6-0 run to cut into the lead.
At the 9:41 mark, the Bears cut the lead to eight, 46-38, but couldn't get any closer.
The Indians were able to empty their bench and close out the game, scoring 24 of the final 35 points, to advance to back to back NJCAA Tournament Final Fours.
Joining Fields and Achor in double digits was Nae'qwan Tomlin with 11 points, his sixth consecutive game in double figures.
In their previous game against the Hutchinson Blue Dragons, the 5th seeded Indians held the Blue Dragons to their lowest point total of the season in route to an 85-62 victory in the second round of the NJCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Coach Donnie Tyndall's squad held Hutchinson to 31.9 percent from the floor, including 3-for-24 (12.5 percent) from three-point range. The Blue Dragons' point total was the lowest on their home floor since a 60-57 back on January 19, 2019.
The Indians outscored their opponents inside the paint, 54-28, and Chipola's three big men finished the game with double-doubles, despite early foul trouble.
Achor Achor notched his first double-double of his Chipola career. He led the way for the Indians, scoring 22 points and hauling in 16 boards. After the first twenty minutes of play, Achor already had the double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds at the half.
Nae'qwan Tomlin poured in 18 points and had 11 rebounds; Faizon Fields scored 12 and brought in 12 boards.
Lance Erving gave the Indians a 3-0 lead just 20 seconds into the game, from well behind the arc. Although the score was tied twice in the first half, the Indians never trailed in the game. It was Erving's only three points of the game, but he finished with five assists and he led the Indians with four takeaways.
The Indians closed out the first half, leading 42-33, and shooting 13-for-32 (40.6 %) from the floor. The Blue Dragons were held to just 10-for-28 (35.7 percent) from the floor in the first 20 minutes of play.
Chipola started the second half by jumping out to a 17-point lead just three minutes into the period. The Indians had a 12-0 run after scoring the final four points of the first half and the first eight points of the second half.
With just over 12 minutes left in the game, the Blue Dragons took advantage of some of Chipola's early foul trouble to pull within six on a putback slam. In the next five minutes, the Indians answered with a 12-2 run to go up 68-52 with under eight minutes to play. The run was highlighted by a three-pointer out of a timeout, by Jamil Safieddine. Safieddine finished the game with 5 points off the bench.
From there, the Blue Dragons never could cut the lead back to single digits. The Indians continued to stretch their lead and pulled away for the 85-62 win.
The 16 seed Lady Indians lost in overtime in the opening round of the NJCAA Women's Basketball Tournament on March 16 in Lubbock, Texas, defeated by a score of 67-65 by the Tyler Junior College Lady Apaches.