HUTCHINSON, Kan. —An emotionally draining Region XIV Tournament finally caught up with the Apaches on Tuesday at the NJCAA National Basketball Tournament.
Tyler Junior College basketball coach Mike Marquis said his team had nothing more to give and it showed in the second half of a 78-62 loss to No. 1 Connors State (Oklahoma) in a second-round game Tuesday at Hutchinson Sports Arena.
TJC ended its campaign at 25-9.
"Winning our league is so tough," Marquis said. "It takes a lot out of you. I sensed it yesterday (Monday in a 79-62 win over Faulkner State of Alabama in a first-round game) and really saw in the second half today.
"This team and the sophomores accomplished a lot this year, something that hasn't been done (since 1996). Their hearts were in it and never gave up, but it was a tough game against a very good Connors State team."
The Cowboys (32-1) will play at noon Thursday in a quarterfinal matchup against either No 8 South Plains (Texas) (27-6).
The tournament is single elimination.
Leading scorer Dale Jones was held scoreless on six shots. He played two minutes and eight seconds of the first half when he picked up two quick fouls.
An almost nine-minute scoring drought in the second half doomed the Apaches. The Cowboys outscored TJC 44-28 in the second half
Darryl Stewart led the Apaches with 14 points, including a nearly three-fourths court shot at the buzzer in the second half. Sophomores Dominique Shaw and Faith Pope along with freshman Ronnie Stacy all scored 12 points.
"I thought Ronnie really played well," Marquis said of the freshman point guard. "He really came on in the regional tournament."
Ikenna Okwarabizie had eight rebounds while John Paul had seven. Stacy had six assists and two steals. Paul also had three blocks.
Connors State point guard Corlbe Erving led the Cowboys with 23 points and five assists. Arlando Cook and Ronnie Boyce each had 21 points. Phabian Glasco had 12 rebounds and Cook had 10.
The teams were tied at halftime 34-34.
"We were feeling pretty good, having a four-point lead in the first half without Dale in the game," Marquis said. "We had a shot to build the lead to six, eight and even 10 points, but instead we were tied and it felt like we were behind,"
Two straight buckets by Shaw gave TJC a 40-38 advantage with 15:57 to go in the game.
But that was the Apaches' last points until the seven-minute mark when Pope hit two free throws.
In between, the Cowboys scored 23-straight points for a 61-40 lead.
"We were getting good looks, but the ball would just not fall," Marquis said of the drought.
In the second half, TJC shot 27 percent (10 of 37) while the Cowboys were at 55 percent (16 of 29). For the game, the Apaches were 25 of 71 (35 percent) and the Cowboys were 27 of 55 (49 percent).
Tyler was 8 of 16 from the free throw line and Connors State was 22 of 31.
"I'm proud of my team," Marquis said. "They are good citizens. All the sophomores will graduate and sign with Division I schools."
SMOKE SIGNALS: Dr. Tim Drain, TJC athletic director, and Apache football coach Danny Palmer were in attendance. … All Apaches received significant playing time.
NJCAA Men's National Basketball Tournament
Hutchinson Sports Arena, Hutchinson, Kansas
No. 1 Connors State (Oklahoma) 78, No. 17 Tyler 62
TYLER — Levi Yancy, 1; Dominique Shaw, 12; Faith Pope, 12; Ronnie Stacy, 12; Jacob Socha, 0; Cohen Desouza, 5; Darryl Stewart, 14; Tyler Miller, 4; John Paul, 0; Dale Jones, 0; Ikenna Okawarabizie, 2.
CONNORS STATE —Arlando Cook, 21; Ronnie Boyce, 21; Corlbe Erving, 23; Damari Edwards, 2; Phabian Glasco, 3; DJ Evans, 0; Kayshaune Spencer, 0; Devin Simms, 8; Erick Broadnax, 0; Montana Gormley, 0.
HALFTIME SCORE — Tied 34-34.
THREE-POINT GOALS — Tyler (4-13): Pope (2), Stewart (2). CS (2-7): Boyce, Erving.
RECORDS — Tyler 25-9, Connors State 32-1.