HUTCHINSON, Kan. – The Jones County Junior College Bobcats are one win away from a national championship.
The Bobcats defeated the Vincennes College (Ind.) Trailblazers, 76-63, here Friday night in the NJCAA Division I Tournament semifinals at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
JCJC, 27-5, and the 11th seed entering the tournament, will face the top-seeded Indian Hills Community College (Iowa) Warriors at 7 p.m. on Saturday for the championship. Indian Hills held off a late surge by Harcum College (Penn.) in Friday’s other semifinal game.
Johnny Zuppardo led JCJC with 21 points, while Leroy Fludd added 17 and Thaddeus Hall had 15.
Mychal Mulder had 17 for Vincennes, 33-3.
The Bobcats’ defense set the tone in the first half.
JCJC trailed Vincennes 8-7 with just over 16 minutes left in the first half. The Bobcats then held the Trailblazers without a field goal for almost ten minutes and took a 24-9 lead with 7:02 left in the first half when Fludd converted a 3-point play.
The Bobcats were up 37-22 at halftime, but Vincennes cut the lead to 47-41 with 12:46 remaining.
However, JCJC quickly ran the lead back out to 57-43 with 10:28 left.
The closest Vincennes got after that was 68-60 with 1:25 left.
A team from Mississippi has never won the NJCAA DI championship. Northeast Mississippi finished second in 1950, 1951 and 1989.
Vincennes will meet Harcum at 5 p.m. Saturday in the consolation game.