Tigers Defeat DCC In A Close One
The Tigers kicked off their 3 game homestand this week with a matchup against Southwest Region opponent Dallas Christian College. The Crusaders have struggled early on in the year, but when these two teams match up, you are always in for a dog fight. Champion was able to pull away in the closing seconds, but it was a heated battle the whole night. Champion would win the game 91-90, with Jason Garcia making 2 clutch free throws to seal the deal once again.
In the first half, Champion took the lead early but could never really pull away. Running a 2-2-1 press from the jump, the Tigers got off to a 7-0 start and kept the lead around that the whole game until the end. It was a balanced attack from the offense, with every player contributing in the minutes they were given. Champion's biggest problem was turnovers, which plagued the team and held them back from running away with this one. After 19 turnovers in the first half, the fact Champion went into the break is astounding. Champion had a 10 point lead, but 2 quick turnovers in 15 seconds allowed Dallas to cut it to just 6, with a score being 48-42.
In the second half, it was much of the same for the Tigers, as they lead for 18:30 of the 20 minutes. Everyone was competing at a high level, as the team shot 50% from the field. Turnovers hurt again, giving Dallas 8 extra possessions in the half which kept them in it. With 3 minutes left in the game , Dallas had cut Champions lead down to 1. A turnover and layup gave Dallas their first lead with 2:53 left. After a free throw from Dallas with 46 seconds left to go up two, Champion put the ball in AJ Williams hands to make a play and he did, hitting a clutch 3 to take the lead by 1. The Tigers then got the stop they needed on defense, but again turnovers came back to bite them as Dallas came away with a steal, and a foul to prevent an easy lay up saw Dallas go 2/2 at the line to take the lead 90-89 with 22 seconds left. After a timeout, Champion had the ball with a chance to win it. Dallas made an interesting decision instead of playing for a stop up 1, instead they intentionally fouled Jason Garcia bringing the ball up to ensure the ball at the end of the game. Jason Garcia calmly hit the 2 free throws, giving the Tigers the 91-90 lead. The Crusaders had 12 seconds to work with, but AJ Williams on ball defense and Josh Walpole's help at the basket got the stop Champion Christian needed to win the game.
Some Notable Performances From Tonight's Game:
Jason Garcia finished with 25 on 10/11 shooting
AJ Williams and Braylon Hawkins both finished with 15 point on 5-11 from the field
KJ Corder had 10 on 50% shooting
Semester transfer Kyle Younge in his first game with the Tigers finished with 8 points on 4/6 from the field.
Next Up For The Tigers: Game 2 of the 3 game homestand will be a Saturday matchup against NAIA Bacone College at Noon.