JACKSONVILLE, Texas - Blinn men's basketball fought hard to lead the majority of the second half and finish off Angelina College 57-54 in the Region XIV quarterfinals Thursday afternoon at the John Alexander Gymnasium.
"Our guys played extremely hard and with a level of toughness that we needed to win the game," said Scott Schumacher, Blinn head coach. "I was very proud of how they fought and played the game."
The victory over Angelina improves Blinn's overall record to 20-11 as the Buccaneers earn a spot in the Region XIV semifinals against Kilgore College on Friday, March 9 at 6 p.m.
Antione Lister led Blinn's offense with 14 points, while Anthony Rice followed with eight points and Markques Houston and John Brown each chipped in with seven points. Lister also led the defense with eight rebounds and three steals, while Curtlon Wesley followed with seven rebounds and three steals.
Angelina held a 2-0 lead for the first two minutes of play, but after Blinn evened the score 2-2, Angelina never led again in the first half. Rice was the first Buccaneer to jump out with a three-pointer in the game and Brown followed with a layup for Blinn to pull ahead 9-4. Two straight slam dunks by Lister, who led Blinn in the first half with nine points, gave the Buccaneers a 24-15 advantage with less than five minutes left until the break. Kae'ron Baker sunk a shot from downtown and Lister added the final two points for Blinn in the first half for the Buccaneers to lead 31-28 at the break.
Houston sparked the offense for Blinn with a shot from downtown in the second half as the Buccaneers pulled ahead 36-30. With 13:57 remaining Angelina grabbed a brief 41-40 lead for the first time since the opening minutes of the game, but a three-pointer from Houston followed by a slam dunk from Lister put Blinn back ahead 45-41. Angelina went on a 4-0 run to even the score 47-47 with 7:56 left, but the Buccaneers answered back with a 5-0 run led by Rice. Angelina never quit fighting as the Roadrunners evened the score again 54-54 with 3:38 left. The score remained even until Tyrus Grayson scored a two-pointer and drew a foul to sink one free throw with 24.6 seconds left to score Blinn's final three points for the win.
"I am glad that we still have an opportunity to be playing," Schumacher said. "There are only four teams left from the Region XIV conference that have an opportunity to get an automatic bid to the national tournament and we are one of those teams."
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 36 NJCAA national championships since 1987.