ROCHESTER, NY: The Genesee Community College men’s basketball team swept the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region III Division II Final Four this weekend, defeating Niagara County Community College in the semifinals on Saturday and dropping Monroe Community College in the finals on Sunday.
(Semifinals) There were four ties and 14 lead changes on Saturday night and neither GCC or NCCC held a lead higher than nine throughout the game.
Naquil Jones scored 21 of his game-high 31 points in the second half and the sophomore was a perfect 10-10 from the free-throw line, all attempts coming in the final 20-minutes.
Ervin Mitchell needed just 18 points entering Saturday's contest to overtake the school record for most career points. He scored 13 points in the first half and with 13:09 left in the second and the Cougars trailing 60-58, converted a layup to tie the game and break the record. He finished with 26 points.
The Cougars used a 10-0 run to take a 64-60 lead with 11:14 to play in the second half and the Cougars did not trail the rest of the way.
Jones went 6-6 from the line during the last 30-seconds of the game to keep the GCC lead out of reach.
Gabriel Burroughs went 3-4 from 3pt-range for GCC and tallied 11 points. Tre'Shaun Perry had a game-high 12 assists and also grabbed six rebounds. Mitchell also grabbed six boards and Jason Perry Murray finished with six points and five rebounds.
Mitchell now sits at the top of the all-time scoring list in GCC men's basketball history with 1383 points. He passes current Cougars head coach Terry George, who scored 1374 points from 2002-2003.
(Finals) With 8:19 to play in Sunday's National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region III Division II championship, the No. 2-seed Genesee Community College men's basketball team trailed No. 1 Monroe Community College, 67-49. It was the largest deficit (18) faced by the Cougars on the afternoon and it looked as though GCC would be sent home after a finals trip for the second year in a row at the hands of MCC.
Sunday turned out different, however as Genesee ended the game on a 26-7 run to earn its first regional title since the 2002-03 season.
The Cougars turned the ball over 11 times in the first half and went the last 7:03 without a field goal to reach the break trailing 43-30.
An 11-4 run to start the second got GCC to within 47-41 at the 16:37 mark, but the Tribunes used a 20-8 run of their own to extend the lead to 18 with 8:19 remaining.
Tournament MVP Naquil Jones then took over for GCC, scoring 12 of his game-high 27 points in the final eight-minutes. The Cougars stepped up defensively, holding MCC to just three field goals down the stretch and with 1:11 left to play, were within one at 74-73.
Both teams traded empty possessions on offense before Jason Perry Murray tipped in a missed Ervin Mitchell jumper with 3.6-seconds left to give Genesee a 75-74 lead.
The Tribunes had one last look out of a timeout but came up short and GCC dropped MCC for the first time in three tries this season.
Jones also collected eight rebounds and dished out three assists. Joshua Doughty finished with 13 points and seven rebounds, Gabriel Burroughs, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, added 11 points and Perry Murray and Ervin Mitchell both finished with eight points apiece. Perry Murray also recorded three blocks, which ties him for the career record for most blocks in GCC history (106).
Genesee (22-8) will now host the District II championship on Sat., Mar. 7 at GCC. The Cougars will face Dean College (MA), which defeated the Community College of Rhode Island on Sunday to win the Region 21 title. Game time to be announced.