HUTCHINSON, KANSAS — The fifth-seeded South Plains College men's basketball team fell to No. 13 Ranger College 87-83 in overtime Thursday in the quarterfinal round of the NJCAA Men's Basketball National Tournament at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
Leading 42-39 at the midway point, Ranger would open the second half with a 17-6 run to take a 56-48 lead with just under 16 minutes to play. It wouldn't last long as South Plains answered back with a 8-0 run and tie the game at 56 all with 13:30 to go on a pair of free throws from sophomore Philmon Gebrewhit. Rivaldo Soares would give the Texans the lead on their next possession, dropping in a jumper to put SPC up 58-56.
With South Plains leading 64-60 late in the second half, Ranger would use a 6-0 run to take a 66-64 lead with 6:17 to play on a jump shot from Jorell Saterfield. SPC would retake the lead with a 5-0 run, as Myron Gardner dropped in two free throws to put South Plains back up 69-66.
Following two free throws from Peyton Rodgers-Schmidt which put Ranger up 72-71, Soares knocked down a 3 from the right wing with a hand in his face to give South Plains a 74-72 advantage with under 90 seconds to go. Ranger's Mark Mayle would drop in a floater from five feet to tie the game at 74 with 32 ticks left, which would eventually send the game into overtime.
With the game deadlocked at 79 in the extra period, Rangers' Keisei Tominaga knocked down a 3 from the top of the key while being fouled, and would go to the line and convert to put Ranger up 83-79 with 2:27 left. South Plains would claw back, tying the game at 83 on pair of free throws from Gardner with 1:18 to play.
On the next possession, Ranger would retake the lead 85-83 with 26 ticks left on two free throws from Nika Metskhvarishvil, which would prove to be enough as Ranger escaped in the final seconds.
Soares finished with a team-high 25 points and 10 boards, dropping in 7 of 21 shots from the field and was 9 of 10 from the free throw line. Gebrewhit totaled 17 points on 4 of 12 shooting as South Plains shot 33.3 percent (25-75) and 25 percent (9-36) from the 3-point line. Tominaga finished with 25 points and five boards for Ranger, while Saterfield had 19 points and six boards. Ranger shot 43.8 percent (28-64) and 23.3 percent (7-30) from distance.