The University of Cincinnati Clermont College’s men’s basketball team gained third place in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association’s (USCAA) National Championship Tournament that took place at Penn State University – Fayette, in Uniontown, Pa.
The Cougars began the tournament with a 70-61 victory over the Central Maine Community College Mustangs. The Red and Black enjoyed a 38-24 halftime advantage and held on from there.
The Clermonters displayed balanced scoring. A. J. Frazier sank 20 points, Kraig Unger 16, Maurice McGee 12, and Jose Navarez 11. Derelle Mathis was the rebounding star with 13, Jeff Hicks made six assists, and Navarez stole the ball three times.
"Lately, we played at World Harvest (near Columbus, Ohio) and they were ranked fourth in the nation (USCAA) and we beat them so we went into the game positive," said John Hurley the head men's coach at UC Clermont.
World Harvest grabbed a 36-22 lead by halftime and the Red and Black never did completely recover.
Navarez dropped in 16 points, Frazier 11, and Bryan Moster 10. Navarez pulled down 17 rebounds and blocked five shots. McGee passed for seven assists, Moster blocked three shots, and McGee took the ball from the opposition three times.
The difference in the game was shooting accuracy. World Harvest was 26 of 55 from the field (3 of eight three-pointers) and Clermont was 21 of 73 from the field (4 of 28 treys).
This loss forced the Cougars to play in the consolation championship game opposite the Penn State - DuBois Nittany Lions. Clermont was victorious 79-62. The Red and Black was up 42-30 at the half and increased the lead the remainder of the way.
Again, balanced scoring made the Cougars tough to defend. Navarez tossed in 20 points, McGee 18, Unger 15, Mathis 14, and Frazier 10. Navarez collected 18 rebounds and Frazier 10, Navarez made five assists, Moster blocked three enemy shots, and McGee stole the ball four times.
The Red and Black has displayed balanced scoring throughout the season and having five players averaging more than 10-points per game has definitely created great difficulty for the adversary's defense. Navarez put in 18 points per game, Jones 15.7, Unger 15.5, Frazier 13.3, Donald 11.3, and McGee 10.5.
The rebounding leaders were Navarez with 11.2 and Donald with 8.5.
The assist leader was McGee with 4.9 assists per game which earned him second best in the nation in the USCAA.
The most accurate shooters from the field were Navarez 61-percent, and Donald and Jones 52-percent. At the free throw line, Unger hit on 82.4-percent of his attempts and McGee 81.3. Unger was the most accurate on the threes with a percentage of 37.8.
The stellar performer, defensively, was singled out as Navarez.
The results of the Red and Black's games are Wright State University - Lake 70-63, Ohio Christian 73-75, Wittenberg University 64-91, Shawnee State University 80-72, Northern Kentucky University 65-90, Ohio State University - Lima 117-57, Tiffin University 71-79, Southern State University 100-88, Miami University - Middletown 93-66, Ohio University - Eastern 88-85, Ohio University - Chillicothe 107-70, World Harvest 83-70, Clark State University 70-52, Ohio State University - Mansfield 126-43, Miami University - Hamilton 83-61, Northern Kentucky University 89-91 (overtiime), Bluffton University 82-63, Goshen (Ind.) College 84-90, Ohio State University - Lima 106-61, Southern State University 113-102, Ohio State University - Marion 87-32, University of Akron - Wayne 94-92, Ohio State University - Newark 83-62, Miami University - Hamilton 93-66, Ohio University - Zanesville 86-66, Ohio University - Lancaster 94-70, Miami University - Middletown 102-93 (overtime), Ohio University - Chillicothe 116-77, and Ohio Christian 104-79.
The Cougars' roster includes Travis Donald, 6-feet, 4-inches, sophomore forward, Taft High School graduate; Greg Folina, 6-feet, freshman guard, Mt. Healthy High School graduate; A. J. Frazier, 6-feet, 2-inches, sophomore guard, Northwest High School graduate; Jeff Hicks, 5-feet, 10-inches, sophomore guard, Withrow High School graduate; Tevenn Jones, 6-feet, senior guard, Groveport High School graduate; Darelle Mathis, 6-feet, 4-inches, freshman forward, Harvest Prep High School graduate; Maurice McGee, 5-feet, 8-inches, sophomore guard, Winton Woods High School graduate; Bryan Moster, 6-feet, 8-inches, sophomore center, Northwest High School graduate; Jose Navarez, 6-feet, 4-inches, sophomore forward, Grover Cleveland High School graduate; Kraig Unger, 6-feet, 3-inches, freshman guard, North Adams High School graduate; and Michael Wagner, 5-feet, 8-inches, freshman guard, Georgetown High School graduate.
"We had a team with good chemistry. We had guys who stepped up and came through time after time," said Hurley.
Jones is the only senior on the squad. Said Hurley, "Hopefully everybody will come back next year. (The UCCAA championship tournament) was a tremendous experience for these young men. It was a life-time experience."
Hurley's assistant coaches are Jason Moberly and Sam McMillan and the academic advisor is Peggy Hager, a Glen Este High School graduate and a member of the Clermont College faculty and Athletic Hall of Fame.
Hurley is a former head boys basketball coach at Milford High School.