HICKORY, N.C. – Jermichael Tanner (Columbus, N.C.) hit the game-winning lay-up with time running out to help Brevard College (21-9) down Catawba College (20-10), 93-92, to capture the 2010 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship Sunday afternoon at Catawba Valley Community College.
Brevard’s Josh Roper (Charlotte, N.C.) finished with a game-high 24 points while Jonathan Whitson (Clyde, N.C.) added 20 points, 12 rebounds and four assists as the Tornados captured their first-ever SAC tournament championship. Whitson, who crossed the 2,000-point mark for his career, was named the tournament MVP.
Brevard’s Darin Dellinger (Stanley, N.C.) chipped in with 18 points and hit four three-pointers as the Tornados’ clinched the league’s automatic qualifying berth to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Tournament.
Catawba, which rallied from a 19-point, second-deficit (74-55) to take the lead, was led by Dominick Reid’s (Charlotte, N.C.) game-high 24 points. Reid’s half-court heave at the final buzzer bounced off the rim. Donald Rutherford (Morganton, N.C.) came off the bench to score 19 points for the Indians, who had five players finish in double figures despite the setback.
Brevard, which never trailed in the contest until 10 seconds left, jumped out to a 44-38 halftime lead and used a 20-5 run early in the second half to take the 74-55 advantage on a lay-up by Drew Schauss (Greens Fork, Ind.) with 9:53 remaining.
From there, Catawba slowly cut into the Brevard’s lead and a full-court press forced the Tornados until several turnovers (20 total for the contest) and the Indians finally took the lead on a jump shot by Reid with 10 seconds left at 92-91 only to have the Tornados drive the length of the court and end the game on Tanner’s game-winning field goal.
Sam Carlisle (Raleigh, N.C.) added 16 points and seven rebounds for Brevard, who avenged a pair of regular season setbacks to Catawba.
The Indians now await a berth to the NCAA Division II Playoffs.
Joining Whitson on the all-tournament team is Roper, Rutherford, Catawba’s Antonio Houston and Lincoln Memorial’s Desmond Johnson.
Catawba head coach Jim Baker:
“It was a heck of a game. I’m proud of our guys. We played like a champion. We never gave up. That kid (Jermichael Tanner) hit a heck of shot to beat us.”
“Dominick (Reid) had a heck of a day. That last shot rimmed out. When it let it go, I thought it was going in. If he had one more dribble, he probably would have made it.”
“Winning three tournament championships in a row has never been done in this league. That was one of our goals. But it wasn’t meant to be.”
Brevard head coach Mike Jones:
“I would hope we can go down in history as the most exciting team in SAC tournament history.”
“It means everything to us. It means everything to the seniors. I’m very proud of them.”
“We made the plays we had to make down the stretch. We are very new to this situation and the pressures that go with it.”