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Blinn men's basketball sees season end after first round loss at Region XIV Tournament

The Blinn College men’s basketball season ended Tuesday afternoon as the Buccaneers fell to Kilgore College, 69-68, in the first round of the NJCAA Region XIV Tournament in the Centenary College Gold Dome.
Credit: kags

BRENHAM, Texas — The Blinn College men’s basketball season ended Tuesday afternoon as the Buccaneers fell to Kilgore College, 69-68, in the first round of the NJCAA Region XIV Tournament in the Centenary College Gold Dome.

After AJ Rainey’s three-pointer evened the score for Blinn with 1:03 on the clock, Kilgore hurried to score the next four points and take a 69-65 lead. Rainey and Kai Tease tallied the final three points in the last seven seconds, but a crucial steal with a second remaining allowed the Rangers to secure a one-point victory.

“We played a really good basketball game and were able to fight back with a 35-15 run after falling behind 11-0 to start the game,” said Scott Schumacher, Blinn head coach. “In the first half we were 10-for-10 at the free throw line and unfortunately in the second half we were 5-for-12. I give Kilgore credit for hanging in there and getting the win, but it is unfortunate that we can’t advance with this group because we have a good basketball team.”

With the loss, Blinn ends the season with a 21-10 overall record after going 8-9 in Region XIV regular season play.

Rainey recorded a game-high 19 points to lead Blinn’s offense. He scored 17 points in the second half and led Blinn with eight assists and three three-pointers. JaQuan Morris and Uriel Velis each chipped in 10 points, while Tease followed with nine. On defense, Tristan Ikpe led Blinn with six rebounds.

After falling behind 11-0, Blinn outscored Kilgore by 20 points to lead 35-26 at the break. Ikpe sunk two free throws to score Blinn’s first points with 15:23 on the clock. Nic Tata followed with a layup that began a 12-0 run for Blinn. During the run, Ikpe’s free throw evened the score 19-19 at the 6:48 mark. In the final five minutes of the half, Morris scored 10 points, delivering two three-pointers, two free throws and one two-pointer. His first shot of the game was a three-pointer to give Blinn its first lead, 22-19.

Kilgore opened the second half on a 10-2 run to gain on Blinn, however the Buccaneers still held onto a one-point lead. Rainey sunk back-to-back three-pointers to keep Blinn ahead 48-43 and the Buccaneers held the advantage through the entire second half until Kilgore scored five straight points to tie the game 57-57 with 6:21 remaining. Kilgore scored the next two points to take a lead and hold it for over five minutes until Rainey’s third three-pointer evened the score, 65-65. Kilgore took the lead for good with 50 seconds left.