PINEHURST, N.C. -- Sophomore Gevon Arrington/Petersburg scored a game-high 21 points to lead No. 8 Richard Bland College to a 70-61 Region 10 Men's Basketball Tournament Semifinal victory past Patrick Henry Community College on Friday night in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Classmates Jaquan Wooten/Kinston, North Carolina and Deandre Clark/Orange added 14 points and 12 points, respectively, for the nationally-ranked and tournament No. 2 seed Statesmen (27-4), who advance to play nationally-ranked No. 3 and tournament No. 1 seed Louisburg (N.C.) College (27-3) in the Region 10 Tournament Championship contest on Saturday, March 11 at 3:30 p.m. at Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst. Dequariaus Harper scored 16 points for the No. 3 seed Patriots (17-11).
By advancing to the Region 10 title game, Richard Bland and Louisburg have each qualified for the 32nd Annual NJCAA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament, March 21-25, at Danville Area Community College in Danville, Illinois. Region 10 receives two bids to the National Tournament, and the Hurricanes had already qualified as the regular season champion, and the Statesmen have now qualified by advancing to the tournament championship against Louisburg, regardless of the outcome tomorrow afternoon.
Richard Bland will be making its second National Tournament appearance in three years, after winning the 2015 NJCAA Division II National Championship, defeating John Wood (Ill.) Community College 64-53 on March 21, 2015 at the Mary Miller Gymnasium on the campus of Danville Community College in Danville, Illinois. The Statesmen finished their most memorable storybook 2014-15 campaign with a school-record of 32-4, winning the national title in only their second year back in action following a 20-year hiatus from competitive sports at Richard Bland.
Richard Bland, No. 8 in this week's NJCAA Division II Top 20 Poll, led 17-14 about midway through the first half, and the closely-played contest was tied at 22-22 with five minutes left in the first 20 minutes. Patrick Henry, however, outscored the Statesmen 11-7 to end the half with a 33-29 lead at the intermission. Arrington (10), Clark (5) and Wooten (5) combined for 20 first-half points. Harper, Ta'vion Petty and Baptiste Chazelas each scored nine first-half points for the Patriots.
Richard Bland began the second half with a 10-5 run to lead 39-38 at the 15:00 mark, and the Statesmen extended the run to lead 48-42 with about 10 minutes remaining. Richard Bland continued its momentum and stretched the advantage to double-figures at 58-46 with 5:00 on the clock. The Statesmen led 67-54 with under a minute left, before Patrick Henry managed to close the gap slightly to provide for the final nine-point margin of victory for Richard Bland.
Arrington led Richard Bland with his game-high 21 points. Wooten had 14 points for the Statesmen, while Clark finished with 12 points, including two three-point field goals. Freshmen Tim Bing Jr./District Heights, Maryland and Ricky Hicks/Bronx, New York contributed six points and five points, respectively.
Harper led Patrick Henry with his 16 points, while Petty had 14 points and Chazelas had 13 points.
Richard Bland and Patrick Henry were playing for the 10th time in the sport of men's basketball, and the Statesmen now lead the series, 6-4, including three wins past the Patriots this season.
Richard Bland has advanced to play Louisburg in the Region 10 Men's Basketball Tournament Championship on Saturday, March 11 at 3:30 p.m. in Pinehurst.