TYLER, Texas – Lee College’s Jamal Jones buried a 3-pointer with 3.7 seconds remaining to eliminate the Blinn Buccaneers from the Region XIV Basketball Tournament here Wednesday at the Herrington Patriot Center, 76-73.
That game-winning bucket gave the Rebels just their second lead of the game against a Buccaneer squad that entered as the tournament’s 12th seed. But the Buccaneers played above their season record, building a 15-point lead midway through the first half and carrying a 10-point advantage into the game’s final nine minutes.
Lee, the tournament’s fifth seed, would close the gap in the game’s final minutes, tying the score 73-73 to set up Jones’ game-winner with a hand in his face. Blinn called a timeout to set up a 3-point try, but their final shot of the season glanced off the rim.
Jones led Lee (21-10) with 22 points while Trahson Burrell scored 16 and Deng Deng scored all of his 10 points in the second half.
Sophomore De’Quentin Greer led the Buccaneers with 22 points. He shot 7-of-15 from the floor and 8-of-11 from the free throw line.
“He got a lot of stuff going to the basket,” Blinn (12-19) coach Scott Schumacher said. “DQ really played well for us the last month and a half, and he did a tremendous job tonight to keep us in the game. Lee did a good job guarding us in the half court and De’Quentin just had to make his own plays.”
Blinn’s starters out-scored Lee’s 56-30, but Lee’s bench players made up the difference.
“They guarded us so well that at times we couldn’t get anything going on offense, but our guys competed at an extremely high level,” Schumacher said. “They were very focused and they were crushed in the locker room afterwards because they knew we had played a really good game, we just hadn’t come out on top. It’s happened to us the whole year.”
Of the Buccaneers’ 19 losses this season, just one – a 10-point loss to Angelina – came by double digits. Their average defeat came by 4.9 points.
The roster included five sophomores this season – guards De’Quentin Greer and T.J. Berry and forwards Kin Bolton, Marquise Hines and Martaveous Smith.
“I’m proud to have coached my guys this year,” Schumacher said. “They competed at a high level for us the whole year. Our guys never stopped competing and they never quit playing. There were only two or three games the entire season that we didn’t have a chance to win in the last minute. That’s a testament to our guys – they kept fighting.”
Lee will face Jacksonville in the second round of the tournament at 3 p.m. Thursday.