Last Updated: Mar 29th, 2017 - 14:35:19

Richard Bland Finishes 4th
By Staff Reports
Mar 29, 2017, 14:33

Deandre Clark pictured in a previous game gave Bland 11 points against the Bull Dogs.

The Richard Bland, Statesman, finished fourth among the 123 NJCAA Division II Menís Basketball program in a cliff hanger game against Kinston North Carolina, Bulldogs. Bland has made its second National Tournament Appearance in 3 years, following their win at the 2015 NJCAA Division II National Championship.
Richard Bland, ranked No. 8 in the final NJCAA Division II Top 20 Poll, got on the scoreboard first with a three-point field goal from Deandre Clark, and the Statesmen led 8-4 at after another three-pointer by Deandre Clark that followed an offensive rebound put-back basket from Juaquan Wooten. South Suburban, No. 6 in the final DII Poll, used a 7-2 run to lead 11-10 at11:03, before Richard Bland responded with six unanswered points to lead 16-11 the quick run capped by a slam dunk by Wooten.
The Statesmen took their largest lead of the half and game at 25-19 with 4:33 on the clock, courtesy of Clarkís third three-pointer. The Bulldogs, however, rallied with a 12-4 run over the final to lead 31-29 at the intermission, aided by a three-pointer just ahead of the buzzer. Clark and Wooten led the first-half efforts with nine and eight points, respectively.
Bland was quick to jump back up after half time and tied the game 31 to 31, in 19 seconds after a layup was made by Clark. South Suburban, however, used an 11-4 run to take its largest lead at 42-35, and the margin was still seven at 48-41 with 9:36 on the clock.
The Statesmen; however, as they have all season long, battled back and scored 11 unanswered points of their own to take a 52-48 advantage with just 3:24 left to play. Sophomore, Gevon Arrington, Petersburg, got it started with a three-pointer, his only points of the game, followed by an old-fashioned three-point play on a layup and free throw from freshman Brandon Henry from Chester. Wooten made 1-2 free throws to tie the game at 48-48, and freshman Stanley Taylor from Petersburg, made two free throws for the first lead, while classmate Ricky Hicks added two free throws to make it 52-48.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs scored the next six-straight points, capped by a baseline jumper by Bell with 1:33 remaining for a 54-52 lead. Wooten made 1-2 free throws with 1:22 left, before each team committed turnovers, giving the last possession to Richard Bland with 17.2-seconds on the clock. The Statesmen missed a three-pointer from the left corner with three seconds left, and South Suburban missed two free throws with less than 2 seconds left ending the game.
Wooten led Richard Bland with his game-high 16 points, adding five rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Clark finished with 11 points, including three three-pointers. Henry contributed seven points and two steals, off the bench, while Taylor added six points and four rebounds, off the bench, as well. Richard Bland shot 45% (19-42) from the field, including 29% (4-14) on three-pointers, and 73% (11-15) at the free throw line.
Bell led South Suburban with his 13 points, adding six rebounds and four assists. Armon Benford also had 13 points for the Bulldogs, while Anthony Harris added 11 points and Shakur Pinder contributed 10 points. SSC shot 39% (19-49) from the field, including 30% (3-10) on three-pointers, and 54% (10-13) at the line.
Richard Bland and South Suburban were playing for the first time in the sport of menís basketball, and the Bulldogs now lead the series, 1-0.
Richard Bland was making its second National Tournament appearance in three years, after winning the 2015 NJCAA Division II National Championship. The Statesmen defeated John Wood (Ill.) Community College 64-53 on March 21, 2015 at the Mary Miller Center, finishing their most memorable storybook 2014-15 campaign with a school-record of 32-4, while winning the national title in their second year back in action following a 20-year hiatus from competitive sports. Richard Bland has attained a four-year record of 104-31 (.770) since menís basketball was reinstated at the College in 2013, following the 20-year hiatus.

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