Central Florida Defeats NW Florida for DI Men's Basketball Crown
March 23, 2013
TOURNAMENT HOME – BOX SCORE – PHOTOS - WATCH REPLAY
Photos by GS Memorymaker
In a historic battle between two dominant programs from the ‘sunshine state’, the Patriots of the College of Central Florida prevailed 74-69 over Northwest Florida State College Saturday night (March 23d) to win the 2013 NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at the Sports Arena in Hutchinson, Kan.
Led by a 23-point performance from Tournament MVP Eugene McCrory and solid defense, the Patriots claimed the program’s first national title by prevailing over a very familiar foe. The two teams battled in the semifinals of the Region 8 Tournament earlier this month with Central Florida earning a 74-71 win. The Patriots then won the Region 8 Championship to qualify for Hutchinson, while the Raiders waited to be tabbed as an at-large selection.
The Patriots patiently played their style in the first half, taking a 43-33 lead at intermission. Central Florida’s defense held Chris Jones from Northwest Florida State to zero points in the first half.
Central Florida stretched its lead to 15 points in the second half with just over 16 minutes left in the contest. Fans were then treated to yet another exciting scoring blitz by Chris Jones, who dazzled fans all week leading the Raiders to come-from-behind victories against New Mexico JC and Iowa Western.
Jones sparked an 11-1 run, of which he scored eight, to cut Central Florida’s lead to three points. However, that would be as close as the Raiders would come to the Patriots.
Central Florida’s zone defense tightened up and Northwest Florida’s shooting went cold. McCrory’s strong dunk in the final minute of the game put an exclamation point on the night for the Patriots.
Along with McCrory, three other Patriots were in double-figures for scoring. Rasham Suarez had 17 points and three assists. Jeremiah Eason had a game-high 16 rebounds to go with 11 points and Will Saunders came off the bench and contributed 10.
The Patriot defense held Northwest Florida State to 33.5 percent shooting from the field, including 22.9 percent from three-point range. Elgin Cook led the Raiders with 14 points. Lamin Fulton scored 13 and Jones finished with 12.
The national title match-up between the two Florida rivals marked the first time since 1955 that two teams from the same state have battled in Hutchinson for the national championship.
For more on the tournament visit NJCAA DI Men’s Basketball National Championship Page. All games from the tournament can be seen via video archive on NJCAA TV.
WILLIAM B. FRENCH MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD
Eugene McCrory, College of Central Florida
Devin Brooks, Iowa Western CC
Darius Carter, Vincennes University
Elgin Cook, Northwest Florida State College
Ronell Crockett, Spartanburg Methodist College
DeShawn Delaney, Vincennes University
Cameron Forte, Howard College
Tevin Glass, Northwest Florida State College
Jamal Jacobs, Lee College
DaQuan Jefferies, Spartanburg Methodist College
Chris Jones, Northwest Florida State College
DesJuan Newton, Central Arizona College
Rasham Swarez, College of Central Florida
BUD OBEE OUTSTANDING SMALL PLAYER AWARD
Deandre Mathieu, Central Arizona College
CHARLES SESHER SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD
Travis Black, Spartanburg Methodist College
COACH OF THE TOURNAMENT
Tim Ryan, College of Central Florida