Deionta Mitchell's clutch shot with seconds left to play lifts Richland College to NJCAA D3 National Championship game
Deionta Mitchell picked a perfect time to score his 10th point of the game on Friday for Richland College, which was playing Hudson Valley Community College in the NJCAA Division III National Championship basketball tournament.
With the game, which featured 23 lead changes, tied 57-57 after Hudson Valley made two clutch free throws with only 26 seconds left to play, Mitchell scored the game-winning bucket with six seconds left in the game to lift the T-Ducks to a thrilling 59-57 victory and berth to the championship game.
Richland College will play at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 14 for the national championship.
The T-Ducks entered the second half with a slim 27-24 lead but Hudson Valley Community College outscored Richland College 15-9 to start the half to take a 39-36 lead before extending its lead to five – the largest lead for either team – with around 12 minutes left to play.
However, Richland responded with a run of its own, outscoring Hudson Valley to 6-0 to take a slim 42-41 advantage.
Over the next five minutes, Hudson Valley controlled the game, outscoring the T-Ducks 7-3 to take a 48-45 advantage before Mitchell hit his second 3-pointer of the game to tie the score at 48 apiece.
Both teams traded buckets until Richland College’s pre-season all-American Tony Bishop hit a 3-pointer to give Richland College a 57-55 cushion with 2:57 left in the game.
More than two minutes passed in which either team scored until Hudson Valley made two free throws with 26 seconds left in the game, setting up Mitchell’s heroics.
CJ Thompson led the T-Ducks in scoring with 13 points while Bishop finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.