’Cats knocked out of NCAA tournament

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Rashad Parker drives to the hoop against Seattle Pacific University earlier this season. Orion file photo.

A historic season came to an end for the Chico State men’s basketball team as it fell to South Carolina-Aiken Wednesday night, 85-70.

In Chico State’s first NCAA Elite Eight appearance, it stood toe-to-toe against the Pacers and showed why it deserved to be in Evansville.

The first half was close for both teams. Jordan Semple scored the first nine points for Chico State and was carrying the team. It was not until the 13:58 mark when Rashad Parker scored on a lay-up that a player other than Semple scored for the ‘Cats.

The Pacers were 5-8 from beyond the arc while Chico State was 4-15. Despite only shooting 40% from the field, compared to S.C. Aiken that shot 48%, Chico State trailed by five at halftime, 38-33.

The second half was controlled by the Pacers and Alvin Brown who finished the night with 11 points and eight blocked shots. With Brown protecting the paint, the ‘Cats had to rely on their 3-point shots that were not falling. Chico State was 8-31 from beyond the arc.

The ‘Cats trailed by five with 15:22 to go and appeared to keep it a close game until S.C. Aiken went on a 12-6 run. The Pacers halted the momentum Chico State had and punched its ticket to the Final Four.

Ronald Zimmerman of S.C. Aiken finished with 33 points and was 6-9 from the 3-point line. Zimmerman along with Brown were key reasons for the Pacers’ victory.

Jordan Semple finished with a double-double for Chico State scoring 22 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.

In their final game as Wildcats, Amir Carraway had 18 points, two rebounds, and two assists. Rashad Parker and Giordano Estrada had 11 points apiece and Sean Park put in five points as well.

Chico State finished the season 25-8, making this season memorable for a long time.

Sergio Sanchez can be reached at [email protected] or
@sergechez on Twitter.