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DANVILLE, Ill. - There has been a target on the backs of the Triton College men's basketball team since becoming the top ranked National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II team in mid-January. The Trojans have taken the best shot from all of their opponents and Tuesday night's NJCAA National Basketball Tournament opening round game vs. MCC-Penn Valley (Kansas City, Mo.) was no different.
A strong second half propelled Triton to a 79-70 win over the Scouts at Danville Area Community College (DACC) in Danville, Ill.
With the win, Triton (32-2) increased their school record win-streak to 28 straight games. The Trojans will next play Parkland College from Champaign, Ill., in the quarterfinal round Thursday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the DACC. Triton defeated Parkland 71-66 when the two teams met in River Grove back in December.
Against MCC-Penn Valley (16-16), Triton was down by as many as nine points in the first half and trailed for only the fourth time this season at halftime. However, the Trojans outscored the Scouts 42-30 in the second half en route to the victory.
A Josh Doss (Taft) three-pointer gave Triton a 61-55 lead with 10 minutes to play. However, the Scouts answered back with a quick 8-1 spurt to grab a 63-62 edge with 8:12 remaining.
From there, Triton's defense stepped up during an 11-0 run that gave the Trojans a 73-63 edge with just over four minutes left in the contest. An Eric Gillespie (Warren) transition layup capped the run for the Trojans. The sophomore guard scored 12 of his team-high 14 points in the second half.
Triton once again had balanced scoring as Percell Washington (Foreman) finished with 13 points and five rebounds. Region IV Tournament MVP Nick Norton (Downers Grove North) added 11 points and nine boards. Guard Dante Thorpe (Washington, D.C.) was a spark off the bench with 12 points.
If you can't make it to Danville for the game Thursday, all Triton national tournament games will be broadcast live by WRRG 88.9 FM, Triton College Radio. You can also listen to the games via the Tuneln Radio App by searching WRRG or also by clicking on the "WRRG Streaming Broadcast" icon on the Triton men's basketball homepage.
Triton College players prepare to take the floor during their 79-70 victory Tuesday night in their NJCAA tournament opening round game against MCC-Penn Valley.
Previously in Triton:
* Triton Men's Basketball Team No. 1 For First Time.
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