Tyler Junior College was hoping for one more upset.
Instead it was an upsetting conclusion for junior college basketball.
Lamar State-Port Arthur, the No. 2 seed, pulled out a 62-58 win over the Apaches on Friday in a Region XIV Tournament quarterfinals game at Wagstaff Gymnasium.
After the conclusion of the game, that’s when the melee began.
As the buzzer sounded, Lamar State coach Matt Cross quickly moved to the TJC bench area and confronted Apaches coach Mike Marquis. Then the players started talking back and forth; and a Lamar State player, named by tournament officials as Lakeem Duncan, grabbed a chair, but thanks to a female manager for the Seahawks she prevented Duncan from throwing the chair. However, TJC security officials said the woman’s hand got caught in the chair and was badly injured. She was taken to the hospital, but said she did not want to file charges.
TV cameramen, including CBS-19’s Nick Zelinski, caught the ruckus on tape. Tournament officials studied the film and were in contact with NJCAA officials.
Dr. Tim Drain, TJC athletic director and tournament, said once the referees leave the court, each school is responsible for policing their schools.
Thus, Drain said Lamar State athletic director Scott Street will make a decision about his coaches and players. Drain said a TJC player did shove Cross attempting get him away from Marquis. Drain said the player had a warmup on and he will sit down with Marquis and discuss a punishment.
“Unfortunately, it was a bad ending to a good college game,” Drain said. “... No punches were thrown. But there was questionable decisions that put a black mark on the game.”
Marquis said of Cross, “he was just excited about winning; and he deserved to be excited. They have a great team and he’s done a terrific job.”
Marquis declined to elaborate on what Cross said. The TJC mentor and his coaching staff did help keep the two teams separated.
Cross said, “It was unfortunate. You get caught up in the emotions and competitiveness in the game; I’m so sick and tired of coaches talking about my players to the referees and whoever they get in touch with.
“But it works both ways because it was not our guys who got the technical in the first half. To me that is hypocritical, but I have to worry about my guys and other coaches have to be worried about their guys.”
He did not say what he said to Marquis.
The TJC security and tournament officials reacted quickly; defusing what could have been an even uglier situation.
At halftime as the teams were heading toward the tunnel, the officials got between Cross and Marquis.
Aside from the aftermath, the game was a thriller in which TJC (18-12) had two chances to win or send it to overtime, TJC’s Kameron LaTouche hit two free throws with 2:45 to go to bring the Apaches within 60-58.
Both teams had their chances. The Seahawks’ Elijah Pittman, LS’s leading scorer who battled foul trouble the whole game, missed two free throw attempts with 1:35 remaining and TJC’s Daniel Edozie got the rebound. However, TJC had a backcourt violation with 1:19 to go.
But once again TJC had a chance as Chris Coleman rebounded a Pittman miss with 47.8 seconds left. Hershey Robinson, who led TJC with 16 points, was long on a 3-point attempt. However, TJC’s Trent Washington rebounded.
After a timeout, TJC worked the clock down, but Washington’s shot missed the mark and the Seahawks got the rebound and put the game away with a bucket on the other end for the 62-58 final.
“We had too many turnovers (12) in the first half and our transition defense did not perform well,” Marquis said. "We had two good looks toward the end and we didn’t execute and they did.”
Along with Robinson, Jaron Johnson (12 points) was in double figures for the Apaches. LaTouche added nine points, while Coleman added eight points and seven rebounds.
Brandon Peters led Lamar State with 21 points, while Pittman added 11 points, all in the second half. Jayon James led the Seahawks with eight rebounds.
Lamar State (24-7), the defending conference champion, advances to the 8 p.m. semifinal tonight against Navarro, a 78-69 winner over San Jacinto, at Wagstaff.
With just two sophomores on the team, Marquis and the Apaches are already looking forward to next season.
“I’m proud of these kids,” Marquis said. “At Christmas break we put in a whole new system and they bought into it. They grew up along with the way. The future is bright, but every year the future is bright at TJC.”
For more on the incident, check CBS 19's video.
Region XIV Men’s Basketball Tournament
No. 2 Lamar State-Port Arthur 62, No. 7 Tyler 58
TYLER — Jaron Johnson, 12; Trent Washington, 5; Hershey Robinson, 16; Chris Coleman, 8; Daniel Edozie, 2; Trevor Berkeley, 4; Tyler Brunson, 0; Kameron LaTouche, 9; Ta’Jon Welcome, 2; Abdi Nur, 0.
LAMAR STATE-PORT ARTHUR — Derrick Dawkins, 9; Darrian Provost, 6; Brandon Peters, 21; Elijah Pittman, 11; Jayon James, 4; Lakeem Duncan, 3; Eldridge Moore, 4; Shondel Stewart, 4.
THREE-POINT GOALS — TJC: 7-19, Johnson 0-2, Washington 1-8, Robinson 4-7, LaTouche 2-2. LS: 8-23, Dawkins 1-2, Provost 2-8, Peters 3-7, Pittman 1-3, Duncan 1-3.
HALFTIME SCORE — Lamar State 32-29.
FREE THROWS — TJC 7-9, LS 10-14.
REBOUNDS — TJC 35 (Berkeley 8, Coleman 7), LS 23 (James 8, Dawkins 3, Provost 3, Peters 3).
TOTAL FOULS — TJC 16, Lamar State 15.
ASSISTS — TJC 17 (Washington 5, Robinson 4), LS 17 (James 8, Dawkins 4).
TURNOVERS — TJC 18, Lamar State 10.
BLOCKS — TJC 3 (Robinson, Coleman, Berkeley), LS 3 (Moore 2, Pittman 1).
STEALS — TJC 5 (Coleman 2, Washington 1, Robinson 1, Berkeley), LS 12 (Peters 6, James 2, Moore 2).
TECHNICAL FOUL — TJC Washington.
RECORDS — Tyler 18-12, Lamar State 24-7.
NEXT UP — Lamar State-Port Arthur vs. Navarro, 6 p.m. Saturday, Wagstaff Gymnasium.
Region XIV Basketball Tournament
Tyler Junior College
Jacksonville 78, Lee 65, OT
Blinn 104, Coastal Bend 70
Tyler 67, Kilgore 62
Navarro 71, Lon Morris 60
Jacksonville 96, Paris 86
Blinn 81, Trinity Valley 69
Lamar State-Port Arthur 62, Tyler 58
Navarro 78, San Jacinto 69
Game 15: No. 9 Jacksonville (20-12) vs. Blinn (26-6), 6 p.m.
Game 16: No. 2 Lamar State-Port Arthur (24-7) vs. No. 6 Navarro (23-9), 8 p.m.
Game 18: Game 15 winner vs. Game 16 Winner, 8 p.m. (winner advances to the NJCAA National Tournament March 20-24 in Hutchinson, Kan.)
Tyler Junior College
Trinity Valley 104, Panola 31
Lon Morris 77, Kilgore 57
Tyler 84, Angelina 83
Blinn 61, Paris 56
Game 13: No. 1 Trinity Valley (30-0) vs. No. 4 Lon Morris (19-12), 1 p.m.
Game 14: No. 2 Tyler (24-7) vs. No. 6 Blinn (22-9), 3 p.m.
Game 17: Game 13 winner vs. Game 14 Winner, 5:30 p.m. (winner advances to the NJCAA National Tournament March 20-24 in Salina, Kan.)