Final Four

University of Arkansas basketball signee Sonny Weems has 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 3 dunks to lead UAFS over Georgia Perimeter on Wednesday and into Friday night's Final Four at the National Junior College Tournanent.

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — UAFS looked a lot like Houston's Phi Slamma Jamma against Georgia Perimeter College.

The Lions threw down six dunks during a 67-54 drubbing of the Jaguars on Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the men's NJCAA national tournament.

UAFS (31-3) will play Highland (Ill.) College (33-1) on Friday at 6 p.m. in the semifinals at Hutchinson Sports Arena. Highland defeated Southwestern Illinois Community College 92-77 in Wednesday's late game.

"It's a special thing to be one of the top four," UAFS coach Jeremy Cox said. "This couldn't have happened to a better group of guys."

Freshman Jordan Brooks said before the tournament that he was going to prove to everyone that he could dunk with the best of them, and he did.

Brooks took a pass from sophomore Sonny Weems — one of his team-high four assists — and slammed the ball with authority with under 11 minutes to play in the second half.

"Everybody was playing unselfish, and Sonny got me that dunk I wanted," said Brooks, who scored a team-high 18 points. "We just played together."

Weems slammed two of his three dunks — one a thunderous throw-down off a no-look pass from point guard Ryan McCoy — and sophomore Bruce Carter had another dunk to highlight a 14-1 run by the Lions.

"We've got unselfish guards who get the ball to us," said Weems, who had 17 points. "Plus, we have a lot of unselfish people on the team who don't care who gets the credit. When you get us to running like that, nobody can stop us in the tournament."

Brooks capped the run with a tip in that game the Lions a commanding 20-point lead with 8:53 to play, and the Jaguars never recovered.

"Our lack of experience kind of showed. We took two bad shots, and they got three straight dunks," Georgia Perimeter coach Alfred Barney said. "We didn't rotate back and check the break. You're down seven points and you've got the basketball ... you got a chance to cut to five or four.

"We didn't execute what we needed to execute at that point and time."

An up-tempo team that likes high-scoring games — the Jaguars scored 90 points in their first-round win over Williston (N.D.) State College — Georgia Perimeter was held to a season-low in points and shot just 35 percent from the field. The Jaguars rely heavily on their pressure defense to ignite their offense, but they forced only 16 turnovers and scored only 11 points off them.

"They're a very difficult team to press and track, and normally, that's where we get a lot of our points," Barney said. "We couldn't do it tonight. They've got some athletes. It's tough to trap (McCoy) and (Mark Mangum) off the dribble, and they've got other athletes who can come back and handle the basketball.

"We kind of rely on trapping the guards and kicking it back to the posts and letting the posts bring it up, but they never brought their post back. They let their three-man come up, and they can really handle the basketball. When we can't press, trap and get out in transition, it hurts us a lot."

Cox was a little concerned about Georgia Perimeter because of its disruptive style of play, but it was the Lions who proved to be the most disruptive. UAFS converted 13 turnovers into 22 points, many coming on easy buckets.

The Lions shot 50 percent from the field — a red-hot 57 percent during the second half.

"We wanted to play the game in the 60s. There was no question," Cox said. "We felt like if the game got into the 80s and 90s, it would be to their benefit. Depth becomes a factor, and in a high-possession game, they'd probably have a few more layups. We thought their defense was their offense.

"We wanted to keep the game in the 60s more, and we wanted to involve (forward Hatila) Passos more. We tried to go to him, but he struggled a little bit."

Still, Passos posted another double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and helped the Lions out-rebound the Jaguars 41-36. Passos had eight of the Lions' 27 defensive rebounds, which limited the Jaguars to only six second-chance points.


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