A 9-0 run to open the second half helped sixth-seeded SUNY Orange build a 21-point lead and the Colts maintained a comfortable cushion the rest of the way en route to an 85-63 victory over 11th seed Scottsdale in the opening round of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II championship tournament at Danville (Ill.) Area Community College Wednesday.
The national tournament victory is the first ever for SUNY Orange’s men’s basketball program, which is making just its second appearance in the championship bracket (its first came in 2006). The Colts (30-1) extended their single-season victory mark with Wednesday’s win and are set to face third seed Henry Ford in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Eastern on Thursday (March 23).
Kevin Stein (Chester) scored five points while Darius Boben (Highland Falls, N.Y.) and Keon Gill (Middletown) added buckets over the first 2:01 of the second half as the Colts extended their 12-point halftime lead to a 51-30 advantage. Scottsdale would get no closer than 18 points the rest of the way.
Romeo Aquino (Newburgh), who entered the game averaging 23.8 points per game, led the Colts with 28 while Stein added 21 and Boben chipped in with 15. Stein was 5 of 9 from three-point range while Boben grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. The Colts shot 50 percent from the field (34 of 68) and held Scottsdale to 35.3 percent shooting, including just 4 of 25 from three-point range.
Cameraon Faas led Scottsdale with 15 points, with Unisa Turay and Tyree Tyler contributing 14 and 12, respectively. Tyler completed his double-double with a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Colts trailed by five early in the content but used a 26-11 run over the final 9:16 of the first half to turn a slim 19-16 Scottsdale lead into a 42-30 advantage at the break. Aquino scored 10 of his 14 first half points during that surge while Stein hit two three-pointers and Tim Linton (Middletown) contributed six points as well. During the game, the Colts had scoring runs of 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5 (twice).