BRENHAM, Texas — Behind Tristan Ikpe's season-high 37 points, the Blinn College men's basketball team (20-9, 10-8) claimed its 20th win of the season against Angelina College on Wednesday night in the Kruse Center on Sophomore Night.
"I thought our guys played tremendous and because of the win we were able to secure second-place in the South Division for the Region XIV Tournament," said Scott Schumacher. "We played phenomenal and our guys were really focused because they knew that Angelina is a really good team. Our sophomores are all first-class people and are going to get to continue playing basketball, while they earn their degree."
"We knew it was a big game coming in and wanted to clinch this game in order to get a first-round bye in the regional tournament," Ikpe said. "It was our last home game in the Kruse Center and we love the fans, so we really wanted to get this win. I love the team chemistry that we have this year and we have all built a friendship and bond that will never be broken."
Blinn and Angelina went back and forth in the first half until the Buccaneers went on a 8-0 run, led by Ikpe with five points, to lead 19-11 at the 11:41 mark. Blinn extended its lead to 11 points (33-22) when Vallien hit a 3-pointer with less than five minutes left in the half. The Roadrunners closed in on Blinn 34-27, but another 3-pointer by Vallien kept the Buccaneers ahead by 10. Angelina finished the half, outscoring Blinn 8-5, to trail the Buccaneers 42-35 at the break.
Nic Tata, Vallien and Ikpe scored Blinn's first 14 points in the second half to stay ahead 56-46. The Buccaneers held on to a 10-point lead (68-58) with a 9-2 run with 11:03 left to play. Angelina made a 3-pointer to pull within five points (78-73) of Blinn, but Uriel Velis and Rainey scored the next three points to extend Blinn's lead. The Roadrunners strung together points to close in on Blinn 87-84 with 1:17 left, but Rainey's 3-pointer and Ikpe's two free throws lifted the Buccaneers to the eight-point win.
Next, the Buccaneers will conclude the regular season on the road against Lamar State College-Port Arthur on Saturday, Feb. 29, at 4 p.m.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 41 NJCAA national championships since 1987.