Indians smother Hutchinson in NJCAA Tournament Opener

photo courtesy of NJCAA
photo courtesy of NJCAA

The 5th seeded Chipola Indians held the Hutchinson Blue Dragons to their lowest point total of the season en route to an 85-62 victory in the second round of the NJCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Coach Donnie Tyndall's squad held Hutchinson to 31.9 % from the floor, including 3-for-24 (12.5 %) from three point range. The Blue Dragons' point total was the lowest on their home floor since a 60-57 back on January 19, 2019.

Coach Donnie Tyndall's message to the team prior to the game was, "Take the ball to the rim." The Indians outscored their opponents inside the paint, 54-28, and Chipola's three big men finished the game with double-doubles, despite early foul trouble.

Achor Achor picked a great time to pick his first double-double of his Chipola career. He led the way for the Indians, scoring 22 points and hauling in 16 boards. After the first twent minutes of play, Achor already had the double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds at the half.

Nae'qwan Tomlin poured in 18 points and had 11 rebounds; Faizon Fields scored 12 and brought in 12 boards.

Lance Erving gave the Indians a 3-0 lead, twenty seconds into the game, from well behind the arc. Although the score was tied two different times in the first half, the Indians never trailed in the game. It was Erving's only three points of the game, but he finished with 5 assists and he led the Indians with 4 takeaways.

The Indians closed out the first half, leading 42-33, and shooting 13-for-32 (40.6 %) from the floor. The Blue Dragons were held to just 10-for-28 (35.7 %) from the floor in the first twenty minutes of play.

Chipola started the second half with one of their trademark runs, jumping out to a 17-point lead just three mintues into the second half. The Indians had a 12-0 run after scoring the final four points of the first half and the first eight points of the second half.

With just over twelve minutes left in the game, the Blue Dragons took advantage of some of Chipola's early foul trouble to pull within six on a putback slam. In the next five minutes, the Indians answered with a 12-2 run to go up 68-52 with under eight minutes to play. The run was highlighted by a three-pointer out of a timeout, by Jamil Safieddine. Safieddine finished the game with 5 points off the bench.

From there, the Blue Dragons never could cut the lead back to single digits. The Indians continued to stretch their lead and pulled away for the 85-62 win.

The Indians will take on Harcum College (32-2) from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania on Thursday at 6 PM for an opportunity to return to the final four. The 13 seed Bears advanced to the quarterfinals with a 92-65 win over 20 seed, Southern Idaho, on Monday then a 109-91 win over 4 seed, John A. Logan, on Wednesday afternoon.

Game notes

  • Kris Gardner was the fourth Chipola starter to get into double digits. It was his third consecutive double-digit game.
  • Ten of the twelve Indians who saw action scored in the game.
  • Indians outrebounded the Blue Dragons, 57-31. The total was the most boards the Indians have hauled in this season.
  • Chipola is now 2-1 against the Blue Dragons all-time.