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Golden Bear Men Fall Just Short in National Semis

March 24, 2024

WINONA LAKE, IN - The 5th seeded Clinton College men's basketball team fell just short in their bid to win an NCCAA national title as they dropped an 88-83 matchup against top-seeded and NCAA Div. II Cedarville University of Ohio on Thursday evening in the NCCAA Semifinals from Grace College.

Clinton falls to 18-10 overall and will next battle SAGU-American Indian College (AZ) (17-9) in the third place game on Saturday at 10 AM. The Yellow Jackets, 22-12, advance to play No. 2 Wayland Baptist in Saturday's title game at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

Cedarville got out to an 18-11 lead over the first 9 minutes of action before Clinton went on a 21-6 run to take a 32-24 lead on senior guard Cam Shannon's jumper with under 5 minutes to play in the half. The Bears would then increase their lead to 10 at 38-28 on senior guard RJ Bell's jump shot before going up 40-30 with a minute and a half to go. However, the Yellow Jackets would claw to within five at the break 40-35.

Cedarville, unfortunately, bounced back shooting 54 percent from the field in the second half outscoring the Golden Bears, 53-43 in the half as CU began the half on a 20-5 run to take a 55-45 lead with 13 minutes to play. Clinton would cut it to six twice midway through the second half only to see Cedarville extend it back out to a 13-point lead at 76-63 with 4:30 to play.

The Bears then made one final rally as they faced their biggest deficit of the tournament so far, trailing 84-70 with a minute to play. However, Clinton would then end the half on a 13-4 run to get within 5 points on a last-second Bell basket but would run out of time in the end.

Shannon led the Bears with 20 points and 12 rebounds, his second straight double-double, while fellow guard, RJ Bell, finished with 18 points, 3 rebounds and a block. Four Golden Bears finished  in double-digit scoring on the game with senior forward Isaiah Stone also adding 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and a block while senior guard Tyler Hammond finished with 10 points and 4 rebounds.

Sophomore wing Isaiah Borders also registered 8 points off the bench while guard Paul Eromosele tallied six. Freshman guard Jordan Snipes Campbell led the team with 5 assists while forward Lloyd Matthew brought down 6 rebounds and had 3 assists with a block. Clinton shot over 45 % for the game and 35 % from three while CU struggled from behind the arc shooting jsut 25 % making 10 of 39.