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No. 3 seed Knights push past Penn Valley 91-79!
The Community College of Rhode Island Knights were in Danville, IL for the 2012 NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball National Tournament. The No. 3 seed Knights faced-off against the Scouts of Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley (MCC-Penn Valley) from Kansas City, MO. The Knights defeated the scouts 91-79 to win their first-ever game at the DII nationals in Danville. The Knights improve to 29-4 on the season matching the best record ever for any CCRI basketball team, matching the 29-4 of 2004-05 Lady Knights. CCRI advances to the “Elite Eight” to play the Panthers of Baltimore City Community College who knocked-off No. 6 seed Erie Community College 89-84. The Knights and Panthers will meet at 9:00pm EST (8:00pm CST).
MCC-Penn Valley got on the scoreboard first with a quick 3-pointer by Denzell Cook. The Knights answered with a floater by Bryan Yarce (Cranston, RI) and 3-pointer by Desmond Williams (Torrington, CT) to lead 5-3. CCRI extended their lead to 18-7 after a Williams made free throw at the 14:16 mark. Penn Valley wouldn’t quit as they battled to cut the lead to six points 32-26 with just 5:40 left in the half. With about 12 seconds left in the half the Knights ran an isolation play for Williams who crossed his dribble over twice and sank a fade away 3-pointer with just six seconds left in the half to give the Knights a 46-36 halftime lead. The Knights were led in the first half by Williams who scored 19 first half points followed by Roger Livramento (Central Falls, RI) who added eight points and seven rebounds and Yarce who added seven points with two steals.
In the second half Penn Valley again quickly cut into the Knights’ lead, but the Knights never trailed and kept a four to six point lead for most of the half. However, CCRI could not pull away from the Scouts. The Knights used the same formula in the second half that worked in the first half with Desmond Williams scoring at will, Roger Livramento scoring inside and ripping down rebounds while battling through foul trouble and Bryan Yarce distributing the ball and penetrating the Scouts defense. Down the stretch Yarce got inside the Penn Valley zone to get to the basket and draw fouls. Yarce made 11 of his 14 free throws in the second half when the Knights needed them most. The Knights won by the final score of 91-79 to advance to the “Elite Eight.”
Leading the way for the Knights was Desmond Williams with a dynamic double-double consisting of a game-high 36 points with 11 rebounds while adding three assists, two steals and a blocked shot followed by Bryan Yarce who had 18 points, including 14 free throws, with seven assists and three steals. Also playing very well was Roger Livramento who added another monster double-double with 17 points and a game-high 17 rebounds, Isaac Medeiros (Johnston, RI) added seven points, eight rebounds and two steals and Co-Captain Trevor Mabry (Norwich, CT) pulled down 10 rebounds with three points, two steals and a blocked shot.
Knights’ Head Coach Rick Harris commented after the big victory: "Today we took a nice step towards achieving our ultimate goal. The victory over Penn Valley was a result of our conditioning, discipline and team play. Our opponent never allowed us to get comfortable today and I believe the level we had to work at today to win this game will be evident in our next game. We will have to bring forth an even better performance Wednesday evening vs. Baltimore City CC as we attempt to get to the ‘Final Four.’ I have complete confidence in this group that they will bring their ‘A’ game and give us a chance to move a step closer to our ultimate goal."
CCRI will face the Panthers of Baltimore City Community College who knocked-off No. 6 seed Erie Community College 89-84. The Knights and Panthers will meet at 9:00pm EST (8:00pm CST). The game can be watched live on the internet on NJCAATV: https://www.ihigh.com/njcaatv/.