DANVILLE, Ill. — Sophomore Gevon Arrington/Petersburg scored a game-high 22 points to lead No. 5 seed Richard Bland College to an 81-70 victory past Cincinnati (Ohio) State Technical and Community College in the first round of the NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship on Tuesday night at the Mary Miller Center in Danville, Illinois. Freshman Tim Bing Jr./District Heights, Maryland added 15 points off the bench, sophomore Jaquan Wooten/Kinston, North Carolina had 14 points and classmate Deandre Clark/Orange added 13 points for the Statesmen (29-4) in the game played at Danville Area Community College. Richard Bland, winners of nine-straight and 16 of 17, advances to play No. 4 seed Parkland (Ill.) College (29-3) in the quarterfinals of the national tournament on Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m. ET in Illinois. Anthony Coleman scored 17 points for the Surge (25-8).
Richard Bland, ranked No. 8 in the final NJCAA Division II Top 20 Poll, took its first lead at 12-10 courtesy of Clark’s second three-point field goal in the early going. Clark’s basket at 13:10 made it 16-12, and back-to-back baskets from Arrington made it 20-14 around the 11-minute mark. Cincinnati State, ranked No. 17 in the final NJCAA DII Poll, scored six-straight points to tie it at 20-20, before Arrington made consecutive three-pointers for a 26-22 advantage at 4:52, starting a 13-2 run to give the Statesmen their largest lead of the half at 33-22 with 3:28 on the clock. Arrington had 10 of his 20 first-half points during the outburst, but the Surge battled back and outscored Richard Bland 15-4 to tie the contest at 37-37 at the intermission.
Richard Bland scored the first five points of the second half to lead 42-37 at 17:52, getting a basket down low from Wooten and another three-pointer from Clark. The Statesmen extended the lead to 52-43 with 13:50 left on a monstrous fast break slam dunk off the glass by freshman Robert Smith/Hampton. Cincinnati State managed to close to within 61-56 with just over eight minutes remaining, but Richard Bland responded with nine unanswered points to lead 70-56 at 6:34 for the largest lead of the second half, the last four points from Bing. A Clark layup at 2:33 made it 76-63, 3-4 free throws by Bing made it 79-68 at 1:48, before Smith closed the scoring with two free throws at 1:23.
Arrington led Richard Bland with his game-high 22 points, including 6-6 free throws, and a game-high four assists. Bing had 15 points for the Statesmen, including 5-6 free throws, while Wooten finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Clark contributed 13 points, and Smith added eight points, including 4-4 free throws. Richard Bland shot 47% (29-62) from the field, including 29% (4-14) on three-pointers, and 83% (19-23) at the free throw line.
Coleman led Cincinnati State with his 17 points, while Dante Battle and Desmond Crosby each had 15 points. The Surge shot 41% (23-56) from the field, including 22% (5-23) on three-pointers, and 76% (19-25) at the line.
Richard Bland and Cincinnati State are playing for the first time in the sport of men’s basketball, and the Statesmen now lead the series, 1-0.
Richard Bland will play in the quarterfinals of the National Tournament on Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m. ET against No. 4 Parkland (Ill.) (29-3), who defeated Johnson County (Kan.) 62-54 in another first-round contest.
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