Motlow Bucks’ Season Ends in Hutchinson with Loss in Quarterfinals of National Tournament

Motlow State guard Javion Hamlet reacts to the action during a game earlier this season at Copperweld Arena. Hamlet, a freshman from Memphis, led the Bucks in points (554) and assists (298) this season. His assist total is second all-time at Motlow for a single season, and his average of 8.5 assists per game led the nation. Hamlet was named the MVP of the TCCAA Tournament and was a first team all-conference selection. [Photo by Jeff Reed Photography]

The No. 14 Motlow State Bucks jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead over No. 6 Eastern Florida State in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Men’s National Basketball Tournament, but after that it was all Titans as the Bucks fell 65-45 in Hutchinson, Kansas, Thursday night.

The Bucks (30-6) completed the most successful season in the 47-year history of the school’s men’s basketball program, winning both the TCCAA regular season championship and the tournament title. The national tournament appearance was only the second for Motlow, and the first time to advance to the ‘Elite Eight’ round.

After a rugged 70-69 win over No. 3 Georgia Highlands on Wednesday, the Bucks just didn’t have a lot left in the tank for the taller, more experienced Titans. Despite successfully slowing the pace of the game, ultimately Motlow was unable to hit enough shots. The Bucks attempted 39 three-point baskets and connected on only 10. From the field Motlow shot just 23.8 percent, while EFS hit 44.4 percent of its shots, including 11-22 three-pointers.

Motlow’s last lead came with 3:41 left to play in the first half, 20-19, after Isaiah Hart hit a three-pointer. From there the Titans went on a 13-0 run covering the end of the first half and the start of the second, and with 17:35 left to play the EFS lead was 30-20. Hart hit another three-pointer to pull the Bucks within seven, but that’s as close as the score would be the rest of the way.

Hart led Motlow with nine points and added three steals. He is the all-time single season Motlow leader in steals with 125, shattering the old record of 103, and finished third in the nation averaging 3.5 steals per game. Javion Hamlet scored seven with four assists. His 298 assists this season is the second most at Motlow in a single season and Hamlet led the nation averaging 8.5 assists per game.

Dillon Smith hit a pair of three-pointers and scored six points, Damarcus Williams had five points and five rebounds, and Rashawn Fredericks scored five with seven rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots. Fredericks averaged 13.1 points and 10 rebounds per game this season, and his 360 rebounds is third all-time in Motlow’s record book for a single season.

Kevonte Corley scored four points and had six rebounds, while Ross Plunkett, Javel Gillespie and Jalen Bell each hit late three-pointers and scored three points, with Bell adding three rebounds and two assists. Alek Zecevic and Chad Emmons both played but did not score.

The first two seasons under Head Coach J.T. Burton have seen the program garner more wins than any back-to-back seasons in school history. Burton now has a 55-13 record at Motlow, easily the highest winning percentage of any previous men’s basketball coach at the College.

The Tennessee Community College Athletic Association regular season title was the school’s sixth, while the conference tournament title was the fifth in school history. The national tournament appearance was the second for Motlow, and the program record is now 3-2 in Hutchinson.

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