Howard Men and Gulf Coast Women Win NJCAA Crowns
KSCB News - March 22, 2010 12:00 am
Men’s Championship in Hutchinson
Howard 85 Three Rivers 80 OT
Women’s Championship in Salina
Gulf Coast 83 Jefferson 61
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Howard College (Texas) provided NJCAA basketball fans with a memorable comeback for the second straight day as the Hawks erased a 10 point deficit to force overtime and defeat Three Rivers Community College (Mo.) 85-80 in the title game of the 2010 NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament Saturday night at Hutchinso s Sports Arena.
One night after clawing back from a 16 point deficit with just four minutes to play against College of Eastern Utah, Howard head coach Mark Adams and his Hawks trailed the Raiders nearly the entire game but mounted a frenzied comeback. Down 65-55 with less than five minutes to go, thanks in part to very poor shooting from the Hawks (25 percent), Howard staged a 16-5 run thanks to great play from guards Josh Watkins (#23 left) and Lamont Austin.
A tip-in by Jae Crowder at the buzzer almost gave Howard the title at the end of regulation, but the basket came just after the horn sounded.
The Hawks stunned Three Rivers with a 6-1 run to start overtime and never trailed, hanging on for the 85-80 victory.
Crowder had 27 points and 12 rebounds in the win as was named to the all-tournament team. Watkins, who sparked the comeback in both the title game and the semifinal win over CEU, was named the tournament MVP. He tallied 26 points and seven rebounds in the title game and averaged 19.8 points over the tourney.
Marquise Carter of Three Rivers had a game-high 35 points in the loss.
Howard’s defense was key to the comeback on both Friday and Saturday. The Hawks forced six Eastern Utah turnovers in the final four minutes in the comeback over CEU and caused several turnovers on Three Rivers on Saturday.
Howard set a record for fewest turnovers in the 63 year history of the NJCAA tournament with less than seven a game.
Championship Game: Gulf Coast Community College def. Jefferson College, 83-61
The Gulf Coast Community College Commodores defeated the Jefferson College Vikings 83-61 to win the 2010 NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship. The Vikings came out stong taking a 4-0 lead to kick off the game, but it was the Commodores who pushed ahead to take a 36-23 lead at the half. Tournament MVP Andrea Smith had a game high 35 points for Gulf Coast who finished 32-1 on the season. The Vikings were led by All-Tournament selection Ashley Brown who finished the day with 17 points.