The Southwestern Community College Spartans are the defending national champions in NJCAA Division 2 men’s basketball, and thus far in the 2017-2018 season, SWICC has done nothing to lose the #1 spot in the rankings, racing out to a perfect 7-0 record, including a 103-78 win over the visiting North Central Missouri College Pirates on Tuesday night in Creston.
Southwestern held the Pirates scoreless over the first four minutes of the game, and scored the first 13 points of the contest to put North Central in an early hole. The Pirates were able to ‘right the ship’ over the next handful of minutes, cutting the lead down to 11 (21-10), but a late first-half run-out for the home team left NCMC down 53-26 at the half.
Terence Shelby Jr. had 21 points to lead the Spartans, who sizzled their nets by hitting 16 three-point field goals. Khallid Edwards had 18 points and Alijah Thomas 16 for SWICC, while Gatdoar Kueth contributed 15, Ryan Warren 13, and Nate Lee 10 points.
Coach Jeremy Esry’s Pirates head into the Thanksgiving holiday with a record of 5-3, but no doubt stung by the tough trip into the state of Iowa. North Central, on Wednesday, November 29th, will get another shot at handing the defending champions their first loss, hosting Southwestern at 7:30 (women at 5:30) from the Ketcham Community Center in Trenton, with coverage on Hot Country Z 101.7 beginning at 5:15.
While that contest is next on the slate for North Central, Southwestern will travel to Winnebago, Nebraska on Saturday, looking for win #8 against Little Priest Tribal College.
In the loss on Tuesday night, Jalen Gant had 23 points, Jordan Reece 17, and Cody Glenn 12 points for North Central. Glenn, the freshman guard from Lawson, earned his total by hitting 4 three-pointers. Ryan Ward was held to just three points by Southwestern, well under his early season scoring average of 16 1/2 points per game.