By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE February 5, 2002 It was a good day for the home team Down in the Bunker.
The Sullivan County Community College Generals (15-3), ranked seventh-ranked team in the country, defeated the top ranked Tigers of Roxbury Community College, 67-57 in Sundays game at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse, affectionately known as the bunker.
Going into the game, Roxbury CC, located in Roxbury Crossing, Massachusetts, was a perfect 17-0 on the season and ranked number one in the nation in the latest NJCAA Division III Poll.
However, after a hard-fought first half, the Generals took a 31-26 lead into the locker room.
The Tigers came out in the second frame as if their coach had lit a fire under their tails, and until the closing minutes the games outcome was up in the air. Roxbury tied it up, and for a brief flicker on the scoreboard, had the lead.
But then Roxburys light went out as the Generals fired it up to shut down the Tigers, who were averaging 90-plus points per game and had not lost a regular season game in two years.
In the Jan. 22 NJCAA Division III mens basketball poll, the Generals were ranked second, but after a couple of tough losses, slipped back to the seventh slot.
Rankings really dont mean much until the end of the season, SCCC Coach Chad Beeten said.
General guard Shiron Brown scored a game-high 19 points. He was a perfect nine of nine at the foul line as well. Also keying the SCCC offense were Andre Simmons (12 points), Kareem Morgan (10) and Davon Wilson (10).
SCCCs John Connor had nine assists and three steals, while Tim Butler grabbed 18 defensive rebounds and Davon Wilson picked 14 rebounds off the glass.
For the Tigers, Robert Hunter scored 16 points and John Suttles added 13.
An aggressive Generals defense held the Tigers top scorer, Pierre Sully, to a miserly 13 points. He averages 31 points per game.
Obviously, we didnt play like the number one-ranked team in the country, said Roxbury Coach John Jackson. Thats what happens when you dont come to play.
Putting a bright face on defeat, he said it was good loss for a team that went 33-1 last year, losing their only game at the nationals.
We needed a good loss, Jackson explained. Its a good assessment for us . . . Ive been telling the guys you cant buy into these rankings and polls. That means nothing in a show. Well play better and see Sullivan somewhere down the road.
A trio of Generals stepped up after the game to offer their take on defeating the #1 ranked NJCAA team.
I think it was a tense game, they played physical, Connor said. They came to Paul Gerry [Fieldhouse], and we had to defend our turf . . . we had to match their intensity, and we did. In the second half, they came out with more intensity, but we were able to execute down the stretch and I guess that picked up the victory for us.
Monticello High School grad Andre Simmons had this take on the hotly-contested game.
Weve had two bad games, we lost a couple of tough ones, he said. So we came out today pumped, ready to tackle the number one team. We came right in from the jump, ready to take them out and we played with a lot of heart we played forty minutes of all heart.
It was a good team effort, Brown said. I appreciated the win.
His view of making it to the nationals at SUNY Delhi after the NJCAA Region XV Championship at SCCC?
If we come out and play like we did last year, well win it, said Brown. I had fun there last year, and I want to go back. Everybody wants a chance to play for a national title.
According to Beeten, The kids played very hard. They came out with intensity, and playing the number one team brings that out in you . . . Im proud of them.
They all did a great job, he said. Hopefully this will get us back into the swing of things like we were before the end of [last] semester. Well take it one step at a time.