Cecil tops Iowa team in national title game

Cecil 64 Kirkwood 63

Juco Tournament

March 26, 2006|By JACK MCCARTHY | JACK MCCARTHY,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Danville, Ill., -- Edward Miller's tears flowed freely as he slumped to the floor of the Danville Area Community College gym last night.

Surrounded by teammates, Miller clutched his Most Valuable Player plaque and slipped his head under a T-shirt as exhaustion began to sink in after Cecil Community College of Maryland held off Kirkwood of Iowa, 64-63, to win the program's first National Junior College Athletic Association Division II championship.

"It's unbelievable, man. I can't believe we did it," said Miller, who scored a game-high 26 points and was the tournament's overall No. 2 scorer with a 21.5-point average. "We worked so hard during the season and all our work has paid off. We're the national champs."

The 6-foot-3 sophomore from Pocomoke had an outstanding first half with 20 points, including 4-for-4 from three-point range. And though his pace slowed in the second half, he ended with six threes for the night.

The game was a fitting finale, matching the nation's top-ranked teams in their divisions. The No. 1 Seahawks (33-2) completed a 4-0 tournament sweep and recorded their 29th straight victory. No. 2 Kirkwood, which also fell in last year's national title game, finished 28-5.

Kirkwood rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to close within 62-61 with 15.4 seconds to play after sophomore guard Julius Moor hit one of two free throws.

But Cecil had possession and worked the ball to half court, where Miller nearly had the ball stripped. Fortunately for him, officials called a jump ball and the Seahawks kept possession.

Guard Keyron Sheard was then fouled with 7.5 seconds to play and hit what proved to be the game-winning free throws for a 64-61 lead.

A last-second field goal by Kirkwood's Shaun Logan merely narrowed the final margin.

Kyle Camper was Cecil's No. 2 scorer with eight points, while Leslie Simmons and Sheard had seven apiece.

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