ABILENE — Playing in the Region V title game for the second consecutive season, the South Plains College men's basketball team fell to Clarendon College 86-80 Saturday at Moody Coliseum.
South Plains will now look to selection Monday as they look to secure one of eight at-large bids to the NJCAA Men's Basketball National Tournament which will be handed out during the men's basketball selection show at 1 p.m. on Monday.
Trailing 43-34 at the midway point, South Plains would erase the deficit and deadlock the game at 45 all on a Benjamin Bayela jumper with 16:10 remaining. The Texans would then take their largest lead of the game, 51-46 with just over 15 minutes to go on a Jevonnie Scott' 3-ball from the top of the key. Clarendon would answer back and retake the lead with 7:26 to go as Jokrol Pal converted at the rim to put the Bulldogs back up 65-64.
Trailing by seven with just under four minutes left, freshman Rivaldo Soares would get the Texans within four, 73-69 with a triple from the right-wing. Donchevell Nugent would put Clarendon back up seven with a 3 from the corner with 2:42 to play as the Bulldogs would hold off the Texans in the final minutes.
Freddie De La Cruz recorded his second consecutive double-double for South Plains, netting 20 points and 13 boards over 37 minutes. Soares finished with 17 points while Bayela poured in 13 points over 29 minutes. Sophomore Junior Farquhar chipped in 12 points and dished out a game-high nine assists as the Texans shot 43.5 percent from the hardwood and 34.6 percent from distance.