NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Things were going well for the Monroe Mustangs men's basketball team in the first round of the NJCAA Division I National Championship on Tuesday afternoon in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Watched by a crowd that included some loyal Mustangs fans, the team undeniably brought the heat in the first half of the game, maintaining full control of the court. With five minutes on the clock, the Monroe men had secured a 20-4 lead over Trinity Valley Community College, and were capitalizing on every opportunity.
However, Trinity Valley began to make a comeback in the second half, after trailing by 15 points. A strong run from them saw the game tied at 60-60 with 6:23 remaining and, after some aggressive play, they managed to tie down a 78-70 victory over the Mustangs.
Sophomore forward Joel Angus III had a great game, earning a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Will Tavares contributed 13 points and 5 assists, while sophomore guard Thomas Rivera scored a notable 11 points with 7 assists.
"Of course we would have liked to advance to the next stage of the tournament," said head coach Jeff Brustad. "However, we've had a great season that's afforded us many opportunities to challenge ourselves and constantly improve. We're proud to be one of New York's preeminent college basketball programs and to be able to compete at the national level — as such, we look forward to what the next season has in store!"
While in Kansas, the Monroe men also utilized their spare time to give back to the community, holding a basketball clinic at the local YMCA for a group of children.