No. 13 Tyler rallies to defeat Blinn, 69-65

BRENHAM, Texas — The Blinn College men's basketball team (9-3, 1-2) came close to pulling off the upset over No. 13 Tyler Junior College, but the Apaches rallied back from a double-digit deficit to defeat the Buccaneers, 69-65, on Saturday in the Kruse Center.

Cardell McGee led the Buccaneers on offense with 17 points, AJ Rainey followed with 14 points, and Tristan Ikpe scored 13.

Blinn jumped out to a 5-0 lead within the first two minutes of play and held onto it until the final three minutes of the game when Tyler went on a 7-0 run to take 67-61. Blinn scored the next four points as Rainey scored two points at the free-throw line and McGee sunk a 2-pointer to trail the Apaches, 67-65. The Buccaneers came close to evening the score in the final seconds of play, but the Apaches blocked the shot and scored the final two points for the 69-65 victory.

McGee started the game scoring the first five points with a 2-pointer and shot from downtown. Later, McGee and Pedro Castro combined for 10 points to lead Blinn on a 12-3 run for an 26-16 advantage. The Buccaneers ended the opening half on a 13-2 run to hold a 39-25 advantage.

Ikpe scored Blinn's first two shots in the second half for Blinn to lead 43-30 at the 16:16 mark. Then, Ryan Pollard scored back-to-back 2-pointers for the Buccaneers to stay ahead 50-44 with 10 minutes left to play. Tyler sunk two straight 3-pointers to close in on Blinn 59-55 with 6:48 on the clock. Another 3-point shot allowed Tyler to take a 63-61 lead and the Apaches outscored Blinn 6-4 in the final minutes for the win.

Next, Blinn will face Strength 'N Motion on Monday, December 9, at 7 p.m. in the Kruse Center.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 41 NJCAA national championships since 1987.