St. Pete College Ends Best Hoops Season in Years
By JOHN GREGG, Correspondent, TB Reporter
Meanwhile, the University of Tampa’s baseball team sits atop the Division II national rankings.
ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg College was ousted from the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament on Wednesday afternoon (March 22), putting an end to the school’s best season since 2001-02 when they finished ninth in the national tournament.
The Titans lost to the tourney’s host team and No. 4 seed Hutchinson Community College 95-78 in a second-round game that they led at the half by three points. SPC ends the 2016-17 season with a 27-8 record and as Suncoast Conference and NJCAA Region 8 champions.
Hutchinson, who was the NJCAA Division I runner-up last season, took command of the game late in the second half after eight lead changes and seven ties. They were led by the sophomore duo of Shakur Juiston and Samajae Haynes-Jones who combined for 55 points while shooting 71 percent from the floor. Point guard Ahmad Clark paced SPC in the first half with 12 points, while forward Jason Burnell scored 18 of his team-leading 26 points in the second half and the team combined to hit 11 three-pointers.
In addition to state and conference titles, several SPC players and head coach Earnest Crumbley received individual accolades this season, led by Burnell who was named State Tournament MVP, First Team All-State, State of Florida Player of the Year and Suncoast Conference Player of the Year. The DeLand native led the Titans in scoring (20.1), rebounding (10.9) and blocks (1.4). Forward Cezanne Carson joined Burnell and Clark as an All-Conference selection and sophomore Tristan Owens earned the Hal Chasey Scholar and Athlete Award. Crumbley was named Suncoast Conference Coach of the Year and State of Florida Coach of the Year.
There are still two Florida teams alive in the NCJAA tournament and both will play quarterfinal games today (March 23): No. 6 seed Eastern Florida State (28-5) will take on No. 14 Motlaw State (29-5) and No. 8 8 Northwest Florida State (28-3) will try to upset the tournament’s top seed, San Jacinto-Central (33-1). Northwest Florida has played in the NCJAA final three of the last five years, taking the title in 2015.
To follow the NJCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament go here:
St. Pete College’s Jason Burnell, among numerous other honors, was named Florida’s community college player of the year. Photo John Gregg, Correspondent, TB Reporter.
Tampa Spartans top Division II baseball rankings
The latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) poll has the University of Tampa ranked as the No. 1 one team in NCAA Division II. The Spartans, who won their 17th Sunshine State Conference championship in 2016, moved up two places to the top spot and are 19-6 on the year. The team has been led offensively by senior J.D. Osborne, who was just named Sunshine State Conference Baseball Player of the Week for the third time this season on Monday. Through play on Sunday (March 19), Osborne had 13 home runs in 24 games and led all of Division II with 48 RBI’s.
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