College of Southern Maryland men's hoops plays well at national tournament
- By TED BLACK firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mar 28, 2018
One year after making its first trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Tournament, the College of Southern Maryland men's basketball team took another historic step forward last week by winning one of three contests in Danville, Illinois.
"Anytime you can win a game in a national tournament that's quite a moment for any coach and the program," said CSM men's head coach Alan Hoyt, a Great Mills High School graduate. "It proved that we can compete at this level. Even in the two games that we lost I loved the way we competed."
CSM (20-14 overall) earned its second straight trip to the NJCAA Division II tournament by upending host Cecil College, 72-65 in the Region XX final, but the Hawks' three-game win streak came to an end when they were upended by second-seeded Pima Community College (Arizona), 108-84, in the tournament opener last Tuesday.
CSM, the 15th seed, trailed 49-47 at the half and 64-60 with 15 minutes remaining before being outscored by the Aztecs 44-24 thereafter. Pima lost to top-seeded Triton College (Illinois) in the championship game on Saturday, 89-85.
But one year after being sent home after only two contests in the double-elimination tournament, the CSM men edged seventh-seeded Richard Bland (Va.), 82-80, in a losers' bracket clash on Thursday to keep their hopes alive of running the table for a potential title.
The Hawks trailed 42-39 at the intermission but eventually prevailed behind 24 points from reserve Jerome Savoy (a St. Charles High School graduate from Waldorf), 13 from Jerry Sharpe and 12 each from Juwan Smith (a St. Mary's Ryken High School graduate from Lexington Park) and Darnell Taylor (a Thomas Stone High School graduate from Clinton).
"We had played them earlier in the season and we were familiar with them," Hoyt said. Richard Bland handed CSM its first loss of the season on Nov. 10, 101-85. "We closed out the first half on an 8-0 run then started the second half with another 8-0 run to give us some breathing room. After that, it just came down to being able to box out on the defensive boards and play good defense and we did both."
Friday, the Hawks' season came to an end when they fell to third-seeded Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio), 91-68. CSM started slowly and never recovered, falling behind 7-0 at the outset, got to within 9-6 then watched Cuyahoga go on a 15-0 run for a 24-6 lead en route to a 42-23 halftime advantage.
CSM got to within 10 points twice early in the second half, but Cuyahoga pulled away thereafter and led by as many as 29 at 82-53. Smith led all scorers with 26 points in a losing cause for the Hawks, while sophomore Sean Scott (a St. Charles High School graduate from Waldorf) added 14. Four players scored in double-figures for Cuyahoga led by Quinton Dove with 18 points.
"We had to play the team that was ranked No. 1 in the country in the last poll and they were the third seed in the tournament," Hoyt said. "Once you get sent to the losers' bracket, you're playing back-to-back days and it was a little tough. We were just trying to dig out of a hole from the start. We got to within 10 then they hit a three-pointer and get a possession on a flagrant foul and it just steamrolled from there."