The Commercial-News, Danville, IL


March 24, 2012

Knights pull off OT win

DANVILLE — With 43 seconds remaining in regulation of Friday’s NJCAA Division II national tournament semifinal, South Suburban College coach John Pigatti called a time out. The Community College of Rhode Island Knights had just taken a 71-69 lead after the Bulldogs led for much of the game — including a 16-point advantage just over eight minutes into the second half.

During the time out, “Roller Coaster” by Red Hot Chili Peppers was pumped through the speakers at Mary Miller Gymnasium. It was a fitting tribute to the wild affair that saw the Knights make an improbable comeback to not only force overtime, but pull out an 83-78 win to advance to the program’s first Division II national title game.

Prior to this year’s Sweet 16 appearance, the Knights were 0-6 in Division II national tournament play.

“I got us back,” CC Rhode Island coach Rick Harris said. “What are we now? We’re 3-6, so we’re making some headway. It’s exciting because this place is special.”

And it took a special performance by CC Rhode Island freshman Desmond Williams to not only keep the Knights within striking distance, but push them to a win.

Williams — whose brother is former Maryland Terrapin and current New Jersey Net Jordan Williams — scored a career high 41 points and had nine steals in the win. But the 6-foot-5 guard didn’t score all of his points on layups or jumpers.

He made 23 of his 26 free throw attempts including a stretch in which he drained 20 in a row. The NJCAA record is 25 consecutive makes set by Casey Mitchell from Chipola College (Fla.) in 2009.

“These playoff games, they’re all decided at the foul line,” Harris said. “I talked about that with the kids all season. We did our free throw practice today. It’s the 71st practice of the year and we’re still shooting competitive free throws. One-and-ones. If you miss it you do five push-ups.”

Williams hasn’t likely done many push-ups lately, and his 14 trips to the free throw line had the Bulldogs searching for answers. His nine steals also had South Suburban frustrated during a four-minute stretch that saw the Knights go on a 15-0 run, and the Bulldogs surrender a lead that appeared have their ticket punched to tonight’s title game.

“The worst thing was not being able to execute the press break that we’ve been executing all year,” Pigatti said. “We have teams in our region that press 10 times better than that. We just couldn’t do it. We panicked, and they played harder.

“Their good players were tougher than our good players, and that was the bottom line. Their All-Region guy stole the ball from our All-Region guy a couple times. They were just tougher than us.”

Steven Bevilacqua came off the bench to make his only two shot attempts of the game on three-point attempts, and Williams went on to score 11 points during the run. Harris credited a press that he learned early in his coaching career.

“Our Rick Pitino press, our 1-2-1-1.” Harris said. “Thank God I saved those tapes back from 1991 when I was a rookie coach. I have that engrained in my mind. We usually use a 1-3-1. But the 1-2-1-1 saved us. It gets the adrenaline going, but it can backfire, too. It’s a gamble press. If the other team gets out of it quick they can get a two-on-one out of it quick.”

There were seven lead changes and three ties in the final five minutes and overtime. Williams scored eight of the Knights’ 12 points in overtime.

Trevor Maybry, Rogerio Livramento (11 rebounds) and Isaac Medeiros (seven rebounds) each scored 11 for CC Rhode Island. Five players for South Suburban reached double figures including Sultan Muhammed (18 points, 11 rebounds), Marcus Lewis (16 points), Keenan Williams (11 points), Michael Harris (11 points), and Bryce Walker (10 points).

All five of Muhammad’s field goals came on threes including makes on four of his first six shot attempts of the game.

South Suburban will play tonight at 5:30 p.m. against Lakeland College in an attempt to salvage a third-place finish. CC Rhode Island will face three-time champion Mott Community College in the 7:30 p.m. title game.

The Knights know they will have a tough task against the Bears, but hope the momentum from Friday’s come-from-behind win will carry over to tonight’s championship game.

“Coach said from the beginning to stay in it,” Williams said. “South Suburban, they’re a great team. I give all the credit in the world to them. They held me down in the first half. They were playing great defense on me. But our team stepped up. We just played with heart.

“That’s the first time we have trailed by that much during the year. I just love my team. I’m speechless right now.”

Text Only
  • Westville SB 1.jpg Blue Devils run past Tigers

    Bismarck-Henning scored early and often in a win over Westville

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Seeger BB 1.jpg Mustangs get past Patriots

    Senior Tyler DePugh struck out 13 as the Fountain Central Mustangs defeated the Seeger Patriots.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • LOCAL ROUNDUP: Tigers squeeze past Blue Devils

    April 24, 2014

  • Local scores and more

    April 24, 2014

  • SPT - CN0423 - Danville girls track photo 1 Record-setting day for Hall DANVILLE -- Athletes, coaches and fans were all giving advice to Danville sophomore Imani Hall in the high jump. While she appreciated the encouragement, Hall just focused on what she had been doing in practice for the past few weeks and it worked. H

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0423 - Danville baseball photo Vikings no match for Tigers, loss 11-3 DANVILLE -- Urbana came a calling on Danville at Danville Stadium for a Big 12 Conference game with its ace Conner Gremar (Parkland College recruit) on the mound. The Tigers also brought their hitting sticks with them to defeat Danville 11-3. Danvill

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-CN0423 - Seeger softball photo 1 Patriots take over in sixth, beat Mustangs WEST LEBANON, Ind. - Seeger hosted Fountain Central in softball and the lead went back and forth through much of the game. All that changed in the sixth inning when the Patriots sent 11 batters to the plate and scored a half-dozen runs on seven hits

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vikings softball easily cruises past Chargers DANVILLE -- Alissa Peelman overcame a tough start and hit a home run as the Danville softball team beat Champaign Centennial 12-2 in Big 12 conference action on Tuesday. Peelman gave up both of the Chargers' runs in the first inning but only gave up

    April 23, 2014

  • SPT - CN0422 - Salt Fork SB photo secondary Storm cruise past Cornjerkers CATLIN -- On a windy and drizzly afternoon in Catlin, two teams with a combined 16 wins and one loss met up in what seemed to be on paper a heavy weight fight in Vermilion Valley Conference play. The Salt Fork Storm came out of the gates strong and b

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0422 - Local roundup photo LOCAL ROUNDUP: Cox tosses no-hitter for Westville DANVILLE -- Westville right-hander Tanner Cox was in total control on Monday against the Schlarman Academy Hilltoppers at Danville Stadium. Cox tossed a five-inning perfect game, striking out 11 of the 15 batters he faced as the Tigers defeated the H

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

NJCAA Tourney Photos 2014

Check out the action at the NJCAA Division II National Men's Basketball Tournament March 18-22 at DACC. Buy photos from the Commercial-News here:

Must Read
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
NDN Video
Grumpy Cat Not Impressed at "Idol" Is Shaquille O'Neal the World's Best Ex-Athlete? Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 2 BASE Jumpers Set World Record Screaming 2-year-old gets psyched at Penguins game Pineda: Put pine tar because he didn't want to hit anyone Beyonce on Her Biggest Influence Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Clerk catches on fire after man throws Molotov Cocktail into Brooklyn store Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India