Cecil tops Iowa team in national title game

Cecil 64 Kirkwood 63

Juco Tournament


DANVILLE, ILL . // Cecil Community College guard Edward Miller went out in style last night.

The 6-foot-3 sophomore from Pocomoke, Md., scored a game-high 26 points and closed his junior college basketball career as a champion as the Seahawks held off a late surge from Kirkwood (Iowa) to claim a 64-63 victory and the program's first National Junior College Athletic Association Division II crown.

"It's unbelievable, man. I can't believe we did it," said a teary Miller, who earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors and is bound next season for Fresno State. "We worked so hard during the season and all our work has paid off. We're the national champs."

The game, played at Danville Area Community College, was a fitting season finale that pitted the nation's topranked in their division. The No. 1 Seahawks (33-2) completed a 4-0 tourney sweep and recorded their 29th straight victory. No. 2 Kirkwood, which also fell in last year's national title game, finished 28-5.

There were mistakes and missed shots aplenty by both teams in the early going before Miller hit a three-pointer and followed with an alley-oop jam to give his teama 9-4 lead.

Cecil never trailed through the balance of the half as Miller collected three more threes and finished the game's first 20 minutes with 20 points. The Seahawks had a 37-27 halftime advantage.

But Miller and Cecil struggled through much of a sluggish second half. And Kirkwood pressure helped finally catch the Seahawks at 50-50 with 7:38 to play.

Cecil got back on track with a 12-6 surge that included another Miller three-pointer and three free throws by Leslie Simmons for a 62-56 lead with 1:14 to play.

Kirkwood replied with fullcourt pressure and picked up two quick baskets to cut the Seahawks' lead to 62-60. But Eagles sophomore guard Julius Moor then missed a chance to tie when he hit just one of two free throws.

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