BY JIM COTTER firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — DANVILLE — Tra-Deon Hollins scored 26 points to help lead the Central Community College Raiders to a 90-78 upset victory over the top-seeded Surge of Cincinnati State Technical & Community College in a quarterfinal round matchup in the 2014 NJCAA Division II Tournament on Thursday evening at Mary Miller Gymnasium.
The Raiders, who jumped out to an early lead on Cincinnati State, played an up-tempo game from start to finish — something that bothered the rhythm of the Surge.
“That’s the way they play,” Cincinnati State head coach Andre Tate said after the game. “They like to get up and down the court, and we knew it would be a tough game in that regard.
“We just couldn’t make shots, which led us to not being able to dictate the game the way we wanted to,”
Central Community College took a 44-33 lead at the break, and withstood a couple of runs by the Surge, who cut the lead to a single point at 49-48 mid-way through the second half.
During that run by Cincinnati State, Central coach Marty Levinson agreed that it was the play of Chrisean Marsden that brought the Surge back into the game, but he credited his players with rising to the occasion and stopping the run.
“Marsden and (McKinley) Bell going out with foul trouble definitely hurt us, and as a result, we had to change our defense, which led to them regaining the momentum and getting that double digit lead back,” Tate said.
“We felt comfortable about the style of play that we brought tonight, and those who haven’t seen us play don’t understand how we ran up and down the floor at them,” Levinson said. “You never want to play not to win, and I feel that we didn’t take that approach, which gave our guys confidence”.
The Raiders placed three other players in double figures, as Tyron Criswell scored 19, while Dean Hollins-Johnson and David Plain added 17 and 12 points, respectively.
Hollins wasn’t intimidated by the fact that Cincinnati State came into the game as the top seed. In fact, he thought the previous competition actually helped them win the game.
“We just treated it like a regular game, and we played several top Division I juco teams this season, so we were ready for them,” Hollins said.
With the win, Central Community College moves to 23-10 and will advance to the semifinals this evening against Phoenix College. The Raiders also were very effective from the free throw line, connecting on 22-of-28 of their attempts.
Cincinnati State, who falls to 25-4 overall, will play this afternoon at 3 p.m. in an elimination game against Fort Scott, who was defeated by Phoenix College 62-57. The Surge was led in scoring by Bell and Winston Grays, who each scored 20 points.