WEST BURLINGTON - The Southeastern Community College men's basketball team ended its home schedule with just six players in uniform, facing a Marshalltown CC team that had ended Indian Hills' 36-game home winning over the weekend.
Despite being shorthanded, the Blackhawks made every play they had to make, defeating the Tigers 86-80 in an NJCAA Division I Region XI semifinal game Wednesday night at Loren Walker Arena.
Southeastern (22-9) advances to the region title game Saturday at Iowa Western. The No. 4-ranked Reivers (29-2) defeated Northeast Nebraska 102-77.
"This effort tonight, I don't know that I have any vocabulary words that describe it other than it was a tremendous team effort by everybody," said SCC coach Terry Carroll.
For the second straight game, the Blackhawks were shorthanded after suspensions handed down following a fight with Indian Hills. Dontay Jackson, Marlon Cort, Tyrie Orosco, and Debonair Edwards were each serving the second of their two-game suspensions.
But the Blackhawks wasted no time in showing Marshalltown they were ready to play.
MCC (22-9) - Matej Delinac 3 0-0 6, Rahiem Holloway 3 0-0 6, Jamal Gatali 5 2-4 14, Troidell Carter 9 1-2 19, Cameron Robinson 4 4-5 13, Lamont Adair 0 1-2 1, Jamyles Coleman 4 1-2 12, Chris Caird 2 1-2 7, Marlon Williams 0 2-2 2, Terrell Clyburn 0 0-0 0. Totals 30 12-19 80.
SOUTHEASTERN (22-9) - Jordan Stevens 9 4-4 24, Joe Scott 3 6-8 14, Warren Jones 6 3-4 17, Lawrence Fejokwu 3 4-8 10, Nick Lyon 5 2-3 12, Ar-Tese Harris 3 3-5 9. Totals 29 22-32 86.
Halftime-Southeastern 40-32. Team fouls-MCC 27, Southeastern 15. Fouled out-Robinson, Lyon. 3-point goals-MCC 7 (Gatali 2, Robinson 1, Coleman 2, Caird 2), Southeastern 6 (Stevens 2, Scott 2, Jones 2). Steals-MCC 4 (four players with one each), Southeastern 3 (3 players with one each). Turnovers-MCC 11, Southeastern 6.
A 14-4 run early in the game put Southeastern up 26-12 and forced the Tigers to call a timeout. During that spurt, Joe Scott put up a 3-pointer that bounced up off the rim, hit the back of the iron, and rolled in. It was the kind of bounce the Blackhawks got throughout the game.
"We wanted to get that early lead," said Jordan Stevens, who scored a game-high 24 points. "Especially with six players, it gives us something to lay back on if we make a couple errors, we had room. That's why it's always good to get a lead. Not surprised through. We knew we had to come out hard and get a lead and we did."
The Tigers made it interesting after halftime.
An 11-2 run gave Marshalltown its first lead since the game's opening basket. The contest then stayed close through the middle of the period, the Tigers holding two briefs leads and tying the game twice as the Blackhawks tired.
"I thought about the nine-minute mark, I thought, 'Oh man, our legs are starting to go,'" said Carroll. "That's when we took a couple timeouts and tried to get them as much rest as possible."
Southeastern responded, and it benefitted from MCC fouls. The Blackhawks reached the double bonus with 8 minutes, 28 seconds left. From that point until the end of the game, SCC went 15-of-24 from the line.
"They played well, they played hard, they deserve all the credit in the world," said Marshalltown coach Brynjar Brynjarsson. "They had six guys eligible, my hat's off to them."
The Blackhawks also kept Chris Caird out of the game.
In the Tigers' 81-65 win in Marshalltown, Caird went 5-of-9 from behind the 3-point arc. Wednesday, he did not score until the second half and finished with just seven points.
"I thought we got some great looks when we ran our offense right away, but we missed some bunnies and we got down 14 and I think that affected us," said Brynjarsson. "I think that carried over a bit and it just didn't work out tonight.
"That doesn't mean we had an unsuccessful season. They had some great achievements this season: they were nationally ranked, they beat Indian Hills at their place, we started the season 10-0. There were a lot of things they accomplished that were very remarkable."
SCC got its lead back out to seven in the final four minutes.
The Tigers trimmed the lead to 73-71 on a conventional 3-point play by Cameron Robinson with 3:07 to go. Stevens drained a 3-pointer 16 seconds later.
Marshalltown got no closer than four points the rest of the way.
The Tigers (22-9) were led by Troidell Carter's 19 points and seven rebounds. Jamal Gatali tallied 14 points, Robinson finished with 13 and Jamyles Coleman made three 3-pointers on his way to 12 points.
Behind Stevens' game-high 24 points, Warren Jones added 17 for the Blackhawks. Joe Scott tallied 14, Nick Lyon had 12, annd Lawrence Fejokwu added a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Region XI title game will be played Saturday at 7 p.m. at Iowa Western.