Zuppardo’s buzzer-beater lifts No. 19 JCJC to 73-72 win over EMCC

JCJC Athletics Press Release

CLINTON – Johnny Zuppardo banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the 19th-ranked Jones County Junior College Bobcats to a 73-72 victory over East Mississippi here Friday night in the semifinals of the Region 23 Tournament.

JCJC, 22-6, will now play the winner of the Pearl River/Northwest game for the region championship at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the A. E. Wood Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi College.

The winner of the title game will go to the NJCAA Men's Division I National Tournament March 17-22 in Hutchinson, Kan.

East Mississippi led 64-57 with 2:36 left in regulation, but the Bobcats battled back to tie the game at 66-66 at the end of regulation.

In overtime, EMCC's Devonta Pollard made a free throw with 20.1 seconds left to give the Lions a 71-70 lead. Avery Woodson made a free throw with 2.5 seconds to put the Lions up 72-70. However, he missed the second shot and Zuppardo grabbed the rebound and called time out with 2.1 seconds left.

The Bobcats then inbounded the ball to Thaddeus Hall, who called time out with 1.0 second left at midcourt.

JCJC's Tyler Rhodes then inbounded the ball to Zuppardo, who caught it, spun around and banked it in from the 3-point line at the right wing.

Leroy Fludd led JCJC with 22 points. Zuppardo added 21, including all seven of JCJC's points in overtime.  Hall had 13.

Jacolby Mobley led EMCC with 22 points. Woodson added 18 and Pollard had 14.

The Lions end the year at 20-7.

In Friday's women's semifinals, Baton Rouge Community College (La.) beat Co-Lin 78-70 and Southwest edged Pearl River, 59-58. BRCC and Southwest will play for their championship at 6 p.m. on Saturday, but both teams will qualify for the NJCAA Women's Division I National Tournament March 17-22 in Salina, Kan.