March 4, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

INA - The John A. Logan College men's basketball team could not hold a four-point lead with less than three minutes to go Thursday as Vincennes University rallied for a 78-73 win in the semifinals of the District 16 Tournament at Rend Lake.

The game turned for the worst when sophomore center Tamas Bruce had to leave the game with severe leg cramps. He had a monstrous night, one of his best nights as a collegian, recording 20 points and 19 rebounds.

Fellow sophomore, Devontavius Payne, started out slow, going 0-for-12 from the field in the first half, but still finished with a game-high 28 points. He had 11 in the first half, all free throws, and converted 6-of-15 shots in the second half.

Two other sophomores made significant contributions. Ranell Crossland chipped in 11 points and six rebounds. Jarvis Calhoun had 10 points.

Freshman sensation Michael Tucker could only manage two points on the night and added six rebounds. Jalen Perry was also held to two.

Vincennes was led by Chris Darrington's 26 points. Justin King followed with 15.

"We did some great things tonight," said JALC head coach Kyle Smithpeters. "Let's be honest. If Tamas doesn't come out of the game when he did, I think we pull that one out. We really had Vincennes on the ropes and needed to have some other guys step up at that point. Unfortunately, that did not happen. We couldn't capitalize. And give Vincennes credit. They're a very good ballteam. They beat us three times, so they're the better team."

Smithpeters said it was a pleasure coaching the Vols this season.

"We had a lot of success. It was a great bunch of sophomores to build around and we now have a great group of freshmen to build around," he said.

The Trailblazers led 36-32 at the half. They improve to 25-7 and will face top seed, Southwestern Illinois, at 8 tonight.

The Volunteers end their season at 24-8 after bolting to a 21-3 start and were ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation at one point. Logan's combined record the last two years is 51-15.