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Loss to Saluqis seals men’s tourney fate

Last updated on March 9, 2019

By Jim Hayes

An ice-cold 30 percent shooting night from the field Wednesday night not only left the Volunteer State Community College Pioneer basketball team with an 61-56 home loss to the Southwest Tennessee State Community College Saluqis, but also sealed their conference tournament fate.

The loss left the Pioneers with a 3-12 conference record with just three games to play. They will host third place Dyersburg State Community College in the season’s final home game at Pickel Field house Saturday at 4 p.m. before finishing the season on the road with a 7:30 p.m. game at Columbia State Community College and a 4 p.m. game Saturday at Jackson State Community College.
Winning all three games would leave the Pioneers with a 6-12 conference record. Cleveland State Community College and Roane State Community College sport 6-9 and 6-10 conference records respectively as of Thursday afternoon. If Cleveland State and Roane State lose their remaining games, the Pioneers would be tied with them in the conference and would have to play on the tournament’s first day, March 1, at Cleveland State.

Having split conference games with both schools, the Pioneers would still finish the conference season in ninth place (their current position) and will play either Cleveland State or Roane State in the 8 vs 9 bracket game.

“We just didn’t make any shots,” said Pioneer Head Coach Rusty Melvin. “We just missed shots. They played better defense than most teams we played against.”

“They switch every pick,” said Melvin of the Saluqi’s defensive strategy. “When you’re 6’4’ and our guy is 6’ you can switch every pick. See they’re all the same size. They switched picks and took us out of our offense. No one’s ever switched that much.”

The Pioneers had only two players reach double figures in scoring on the night. Tim Goodrich’s 13 points paced Vol State while Jabori Murphy had 11. As for the rest of the Pioneer scoring, Justin Goodman scored 8 points, Jonathan Howard, and Heston King added 6 apiece, Jordan Buchanan scored 5, Brian Price scored 4 and Jordan Chumley scored 3.

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