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South Plains to Square Off with Highland March 19 in Opening Round of 2018 NJCAA Men’s Basketball National Tournament

March 13, 2018

nationaltourneyLEVELLAND — The South Plains College men’s basketball team earned a No. 13 seed to the 2018 NJCAA Men’s Basketball National Tournament and will take on No. 20 Highland (IL) on Monday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hutchinson Sports Arena in Hutchinson, Kansas.

The Texans earned an automatic berth to the tournament after defeating Odessa College 101-92 on March 10 in the Region V title game in Wolfforth. Should South Plains come out victorious in their first-round matchup, they will advance to the round of 16 where they will meet No. 4 Salt Lake on Wednesday, March 21 at 1:00 p.m.

Highland earned a berth to the tournament after defeating Missouri State-West Plains 77-75 on March 10 in the Region IV title game. The Cougars have amassed a 26-7 overall record including a 10-1 mark in conference play and are winners of 19 of their last 20 games.

Averaging 84.5 points per game and shooting 52.3 percent from the field, Highland is led by Jay’Quan McCloud who leads the team in scoring with 15.4 points per game, shooting 51.8 percent from the field this season. Also averaging double figures for the Cougars is freshman Luka Barisic who ranks second on the team with 15.2 points per game and is shooting 54.1 percent from the floor.

Led by head coach Steve Green who will be making his eighth appearance at the national tournament at helm of the Texans’ program, South Plains has won seven of their last eight outings including two wins over teams ranked inside the top 25 in the final NJCAA regular season polls in No. 20 McLennan and No. 7 Odessa.

Averaging 80.3 points per game and sporting a 23-8 record on the year, South Plains is led by sophomore sharpshooter Jordan Brangers who leads the team in scoring, averaging 16 points per game and is shooting 44.1 percent from the floor this season. Sophomore big man Isaiah Maurice, who has scored in double digits in four of his last five outings, ranks second in scoring for the Texans with 12.1 points per game. Shooting 61.3 percent from the field, Maurice leads South Plains on the glass, averaging 5.7 boards per game.

(Thanks Jordan Irvine, Sports Information Coordinator, South Plains College, http://www.spctexans.com)

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