Triton lost narrowly to the Northwest Florida State College in the semifinals of the NJCAA Division I Championship on Saturday. | NJCAA
Saturday, March 19, 2022 || By Community Editor/Triton College Communications || @maywoodnews
[NOTE: The following is a Triton College press release]: The postseason run for the Triton College men’s basketball team came to a heartbreaking end in a 68-64 defeat March 18 to Northwest Florida State College in the semifinals of the NJCAA Division I Championship in Hutchinson, Kan. on Friday.
The No. 11 seeded Trojans, who finished the season with a 30-6 record were up 40-32 at halftime and enjoyed the lead for over 32 minutes of game time.
However, the No. 10 seeded Raiders (30-5) used their presence inside to stay close as Triton protected a 62-55 advantage with 6:49 to go in the second half after a Brandon Muntu driving layup.
Unfortunately from that point, the Trojans would only make one more field goal as Northwest Florida State ended the game on a 13-2 run. The Raiders attacked the rim when they needed to and outscored Triton by a decisive 44-20 margin in the paint.
The Trojans, playing for the fourth consecutive day, could not find the offensive magic in the second half that led to their first three tournament victories to reach the “Final Four.”
Triton scored only 24 points during the final 20 minutes and shot 34 percent from the field (11-of-32), including 2-of-17 shooting from three-point range.
“We struggled to score and missed some shots we normally make in the second half,” said head coach John Clancy. “We were able to weather the storm and were still up seven with six minutes to go. But Northwest Florida battled and made some big plays down the stretch.”
Despite the outcome, the program finally getting to “Hutch” for the first time since the move up to NJCAA Division I after the 2017-18 season and making a deep run in the tournament are positives for Clancy to build on.
“I’m thankful for the players for trusting a first-year head coach when they could had gone to a lot of other places,” Clancy said. “Without the hard work of the players and my assistant coaches, this journey does not happen and what a heck of a ride it has been. We know we have more work to do and we’ll reload and hopefully come back here next year with a different result.”