Heartbreaking loss eliminates Kilgore College from NJCAA tourney
By Jordan Moss Special to the News-Journal
March 20, 2013 at 11 p.m.
HUTCHINSON, Kan. - The Kilgore College Rangers were eliminated from the NJCAA national men's basketball tournament following a heartbreaking 53-51 loss to No. 2 seed Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) on Wednesday.
Kilgore (27-6) came up short in a close game that featured 14 lead changes.
Quinton Upshur led the way for the Rangers with 13 points. Lonnie McClanahan added eight.
Ronnell Crockett paced Spartanburg Methodist (33-0) with 18 points, while DaQuan Jefferies contributed 11.
Kilgore led 23-19 at halftime. Spartanburg Methodist took the lead with 20 seconds to play, and Kilgore called a timeout to draw up a final play. With time winding down, Maurice Taylor launched a three-pointer for the win, but the ball rimmed out at the buzzer.
"We're very proud to be 27-6 and have a season where we made it to the national championship and we've got a situation were we can build on the foundation of this," Kilgore head coach Brian Hoberecht said.
Kilgore shot 42.9 percent from the field but only 14.3 percent from the three-point line. Spartanburg finished with 44.9 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Kilgore had 18 turnovers in the contest, leading to 17 Spartanburg points.
The Rangers played a smaller lineup than usual to try to match up better with Spartanburg.
"I thought they got to play to their identity better than we did today," Hoberecht said.
Kilgore was making its first NJCAA Tournament trip since the 1993-94 season.
"This is the best group of guys I've played with. I'm going to miss it," KC's Kalif Wright said. "We're just going to work hard and hopefully come back next year."