PINEHURST, NC – The Richard Bland College of William and Mary men's basketball team fell to USC Salkehatchie 83-55 on Thursday night in the quarter-final round of the NJCAA Region X Tournament.
The Statesmen close out the year with a 6-21 record while USC Salkehatchie improves to 20-10 while advancing to the semi-finals of the tournament.
Richard Bland stepped onto the court Thursday night with five players. While some may have thought the talented two seed from USC Salkehatchie would run away with the game, the Statesmen proved it would not be so easy. The Statesmen did their best to control the pace of the game. They took their time setting up in their half-court offense and found open shots. Defensively they continued to change Salkehatchie's options so they struggled to find a rhythm. The Statesmen trailed 21-25 with five minutes remaining in the first half. After a big three from sophomore Wayne Clevert with 4:42 remaining in the first, Richard Bland was down one. The Statesmen continued to fight the rest of the half. Great ball movement, sound decision making, and teamwork by the Statesmen kept Salkehatchie within reach. Salkehatchie started to get hot from behind the arc just before the half bringing the score to 41-27 at the half.
The second half was difficult for the Statesmen. Salkehatchie's press pulled a lot of the energy from the Statesmen who were slowly running out of steam with no relievers on the bench. This would not stop the Statesmen from fighting until the very end. Each player continued to push themselves to their limits the rest of the game. When the final buzzer rang, there were no doubts about the effort by the Statesmen. They played for each other and would leave every ounce of energy on the court. After the game players from both teams embraced before lining up to shake hands. It was a game of heart and an event that reminds you just how much sports can teach us.