(GRCC News Release)

Danville, IL – With a 74-72 win over Essex Country GRCC’s men’s basketball team advances to the quarterfinal round of NJCAA Division II National Tournament play to face #3 seeded Louisburg College.

The Raiders were led by sophomore Arthur Pearson who finished the night with 25 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal shooting 10-of-17 from the field.  Jeffrey Drake-Todd delivered 21 points (5 of 8 from behind the arc) with 5 assists and 3 steals.

Zachary Pangborn‘s 18 point performance (5 of 10 from three’s) included 11 of GRCC’s final 15 points while Maxwell Prendergast finished with 10 rebounds and four blocks. Pangborn hit a three with 1:04 left to put his team up one. After an Essex County bucket, Pangborn came down and hit what would be the game winning 3 with 38 seconds left. Essex County missed a 3 pointer as time expired and Corey Jones secured the final rebound.

Essex County had a well balanced attack as all five of their starters posted double digit scoring figures.  Frank Rokins delivered 10 rebounds, 12 points and two assists.  Juwan Jones led the Wolverines in scoring with 14 points.

GRCC made back-to-back trips to the NJCAA national tournament in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, but fell in the first round both season. Yesterday’s win is a milestone for the program under first year head coach Luke Bronkema, but his team will have to savor it just briefly and then prepare for a tough Louisburg team that likes to run.

Louisburg’s 26-3 record was good enough to finish the regular season ranked third in NJCAA DII play—behind only second ranked Essex County and first ranked Southwestern Community College.

Louisburg cruised past their first round opponent, St. Louis, 92-70, led by starters Troy Locke and Josh Bougher.  Locke finished the contest with 15 points three assists and 2 rebounds.  Bougher’s 16 points was the team’s high as he added 11 rebounds and 2 assists.

Jordan Oakley and Jaret Gassett made huge contributions coming from the bench with Gassett delivering 11 points and 10 rebounds and Oakley adding 10 points and 6 rebounds.

Thus far in 2016-17 Louisburg is averaging 92.7 points per game shooting 46.8% from the field, 34.9% from behind the arc, 66.5% from the free throw line and adding 19 assists and 43.2 rebounds per game.

Tonight’s matchup tips off at 9:00PM EST and will be streaming live at njcaatv.com