Indians narrowly avoid upset bid
Dec 17, 2012 (Jackson County Floridan - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The No. 3 Chipola Indians narrowly escaped with their 15th straight victory to start the season Saturday night in Pensacola, edging by Baton Rouge Community College 61-59 in the Pensacola State Christmas Classic.
Baton Rouge, which Chipola defeated 90-58 in the season opener, had an opportunity to pull off the upset with a last-second three-point attempt for the win, but it hit off the rim and was rebounded by the Indians' Terel Hall as time expired.
The game featured a season low in points for the Indians, who previously had not been held under 70 points in any game this year.
"It was just one of those nights where offensively we really just couldn't get much going," Chipola coach Patrick Blake said. "We really struggled to get anything going. But give credit to (Baton Rouge). They did a good job defensively. They slowed it down a lot. They were very patient offensively, and they did a good job of making it a half-court game."
Chipola led 31-25 at halftime, but Baton Rouge refused to go away in the second half, with the Indians finally getting a bit of breathing room at 61-57 with three minutes to play.
After Baton Rouge scored with just under a minute remaining to cut the lead in half, the Indians turned the ball over on an offensive foul.
But the Indians got a defensive stop on the next Baton Rouge possession and were fouled with 4.8 seconds left, but they were not in the penalty and had to take the ball out of bounds.
However, Chipola turned it over once again when Carlos Morris was whistled for travel with 2.4 seconds to play to set up Baton Rouge's failed last shot attempt.
Demetrious Floyd led the Indians with 19 points off the bench, including 5-of-6 from the three-point line, while Chris Thomas added 11 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
Chipola shot 50.9 percent from the field, but could not translate the good shooting into a big point total largely due to collecting only four offensive rebounds and shooting just three free throws.
"We didn't have great defensive intensity to force any turnovers and get easy points as well," Blake said. "(Baton Rouge) did a good job keeping us off the offensive glass and getting those extra possessions."
It also appeared a classic case of a team sleepwalking through the last game before the Christmas break, though the Indians' first-year coach said the hard fought game provided a rare opportunity to execute in pressure situations after winning most of its game this season by big margins.
"Obviously, I like how our guys competed and rose to the challenge at the end," Blake said. "We've got to pay more attention to executing when we are in the half-court and running all the way through our plays and not just taking the first shot we get. When we come back (from a 10-day break), we just have to move on and be prepared for the next two games."
Chipola will return to action Dec. 29-30 at the Gulf Coast State Classic in Panama City, taking on Aiken Tech and USC-Salkehatchie.
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