Shawnee, OK- An 11-0 run to start the game got them rolling and Connors State never looked back in punching its ticket to the 2022 NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas. This will be the schools 15 Appearance in the Tournament and first since its Elite Eight Finish in 2018.
A 14-0 run in the second half was the dagger that lifted third-seeded Connors State to an 85-62 win in the Region II men's basketball championship game against surprising eighth-seed Northern-Enid on Saturday at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee.
The win sends the Cowboys to the NJCAA national tournament in Hutchinson, Kan. Connors coach Bill Muse, who won his 700th career game earlier this year, will make his 11th trip with the Cowboys.
Sutton's free throws at 4:56 to go until the half gave Connors its biggest lead of the half, 33-14. But the Jets closed strong. Dakoda Joachim was fouled on a 3 and sank all three free throws with just over a second left on the clock to make it 40-32 at the half.
Sutton's basket got the Cowboys on the board first in the second half, but Enid ran off seven straight after that. Jlynn Counter's feed to Jamarion Butler for a layup cut it to 42-36 with 16:57 left, forcing a Cowboys' timeout.
Sutton drained a 3 from the right wing and had it back to a nine-point lead with 16:23 left. Basey's free throws at 15:59 got it back to double digits at 47-36.
Tillmon hit a 3 with 13:59 left for a 50-36 lead, then then fed Jahcoree Ealy for a slam, then took an outlet pass from Greg Johnson, who came up with a steal on Enid's baseline, then sank the fast-break layup to make it 54-36.
Ealy's free throws with 12:30 to play made it a 20-point game and finished the 14-0 run.
Tillmon's free throws gave Connors its biggest lead, 81-57, with 1:37 left.
The Cowboys at 28-5 have won their last six games, including a semifinal win over second-seeded Murray State 84-81 on Friday. Northern-Enid (13-19) upset Northern-Tonkawa in the opening round, then knocked off Seminole State 69-68 to reach the finals.
Ealy had 23 points, Tillmon 20 and Sutton 18. Sutton, Johnson and Basey each had eight rebounds to lead in that department.
The national tournament is March 14-19 in Hutchinson, Kansas inside the Hutchinson Sports Arena.