SYRACUSE, NY. – December 12, 2011 – Roxbury Community College, 10-0 on the season and ranked #5 in the country in the most recent National Junior College Athletic Association Division III poll, jumped out to an 18 point halftime advantage and upended Onondaga Community College, 87-71, in the Championship Game of the 2011 Onondaga Community College Classic on Sunday afternoon. The loss dropped the Lazers to 8-3 on the season. Roxbury became the 5th different team to win the Classic championship in the 5-year history of the event, which is now regarded as one of the premier in-season NJCAA events in the country.
The Classic got underway on Saturday afternoon, when Roxbury faced Nassau Community College. After Roxbury took an early 5-point lead, Nassau gained control of the contest, building a 41-30 lead with 2:05 to go in the opening half, before settling for a 45-38 advantage at the break. The second half would prove to be a different story, however, as Roxbury turned up the defensive intensity and held Nassau to only 20 points in the session. Roxbury’s Kristopher Joyce scored with 11:44 to go to give the Tigers a 56-55 lead, their first since the early going. After the two teams traded baskets, Roxbury held Nassau scoreless for almost 7 minutes, going on an 11-0 run, and going on to an 80-65 victory. Jeffrey Hall led Roxbury with 18 points, followed by Charles Nedd-Araujo with 14 and Paul Becklens with 13. Tim Johnson and Quentin Tate scored 13 and 11 points respectively to lead Nassau.
Saturday’s second contest featured the host Onondaga Lazers against Anne Arundel Community College. The two teams battled back and forth through a first half that featured 9 lead changes and saw the teams headed to the break tied at 39. Anne Arundel’s Kevin Eaglin was the star of the opening half, scoring 18 points in the session. The second half proved to be a different story, however. With the Pioneers leading by 1 early in the half, Onondaga seized control with a 12-0 run. Back to back baskets by Jesse Gates (Liverpool) gave the Lazers a double digit lead at 52-41 with 13:35 to go. Onondaga gradually pulled away from there, building the lead to as much as 19 before coming away with a 79-64 win. Tom Graf (Jordan Elbridge) and Brandon Seibt (Central Square) paced a balanced Onondaga attack with 14 points each, while Gates and Jordan Prior (Cortland) added 13 each. Gates pulled down 11 rebounds and Prior handed out 7 assists. Eaglin led Anne Arundel with a game high 24 points and Jarvez Pierce added 17.
Sunday started off with a consolation matchup between Anne Arundel and Nassau. With Nassau seemingly in control, Eaglin scored the Pioneers’ last 7 points from the line, the final two coming with 18 seconds to go to send the game in to send things to overtime. In overtime, Johnson scored 6 straight points to pace the Lions to a 72-69 win. Tate had 20 for Nassau, while Malcolm Moore added 16 and Johnson added 12. Eaglin was Anne Arundel’s only double figure scorer with 26. Nassau completed the tournament with an overall record of 7-4, while Anne Arundel fell to 5-6.
Roxbury started fast in the championship game, getting out to a quick 10-point advantage. The Tigers then extended the lead to 18, 52-34, at the halftime break, thanks in large part to 14 first half Lazer turnovers. Onondaga was unable to make up any significant ground in the second half, as the lead never got less than 16 points. Jake VanDusen (Oneonta) and Mike Scott (Chittenango) were Onondaga’s only double figure scorers. Both freshmen reached collegiate highs, scoring 12 and 11 points respectively. Scott, Gates, and Ahmet Tunali (Syracuse Academy of Science) pulled down 5 rebounds each, while Adam Misener handed out a team best 4 assists. Gabriel Fumudoh led Roxbury with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Hall added 16 points, while Becklens recorded 12 points, 7 assists, 7 steals, and 7 rebounds. Turnovers plagued Onondaga throughout, as the Lazers gave it away 31 times, compared to 15 for the Tigers. Roxbury also held a 47-44 rebounding advantage.
Roxbury’s Paul Becklens was named the Classic Most Outstanding Player. He was joined on the All-Tournament team by Jeffrey Hall of Roxbury, Jesse Gates and Brandon Seibt from Onondaga, Quentin Tate of Nassau, and Kevin Eaglin of Anne Arundel.
Onondaga is now off until after the holidays. The Lazers will return to action on January 2nd, when they play NJCAA Division II Pasco-Hernando Community College in the opening game of the Pasco-Hernando New Year’s Shootout in New Port Richey, FL.
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