Broncos still in postseason hunt with home win over Frank Phillips

A pair of Broncos contest a shot by a Frank Phillips player in the first half. Photo by Mirna Kovacevic.

NMMI Sports Press

Matt Brown attempts to block a Frank Phillips players shot. Photo by Mirna Kovacevic.

The New Mexico Military Institute Bronco basketball team kept their playoff hopes alive with a 78-69 win at home over conference opponent Frank Phillips College.

NMMI trailed the Plainsmen for all but the very beginning of the first half, allowing FPC to build as much as a nine-point lead with 5:34 left.

But the Broncs came storming back to close the gap to just two before the halftime buzzer. Freshman shooting guard Jaylen Williams began the rally with a trademark three from NBA range, sophomore wing Rosel Hurley then went inside for two back-to-back scores off the drive for four of his game-high 23 points, and sophomore University of Highlands transfer Atem Bior made it 36-34 after his post move and bucket in the paint.

In the second, after a mostly back-and-forth game in the first few minutes, the Plainsmen managed to move the margin back to five points in their favor as sophomore guard Knowledge Darby hit a trey from the corner with 13:32 left on the clock.

Rosel Hurley goes up for a contested layup. Photo by Mirna Kovacevic.

NMMI needed just two possessions to knot the score at 50: Bior hit a shot for two from the top of the key, got the rebound after a missed FPC three-point try, then freshman point guard Jordyn Owens connected from downtown.

The Broncos trailed just once more after that, but went on a 10-0 run over the next four minutes to amass an eight-point lead, 64-56, 4:05 remaining.

A final FPC rally cut that lead to one, 65-64, with 2:56 left to play, but scores by Hurley and the three-point play, the hard way, by Owens, put NMMI back solidly out front.

Down the final minute-and-a-half stretch, NMMI hit just enough of their free throws to keep a two-digit lead before running out the clock.

In addition to Hurley’s 23, NMMI had three more players with double-figures in points: Atem Bior had 17, along with 10 rebounds; Owens had 15, along with 5 assists; and Williams had 13, along with nine boards.

Jaylan Williams grabs one of his nine rebounds. Photo by Mirna Kovacevic.

“We started off very flat those first ten minutes,” said head Bronco basketball coach Ralph Davis. “But the good thing is, we got through it. In the second half, our guys came around; they battled and got crucial stop after crucial stop. We missed quite a few free throws down the stretch, but by that time the game was mostly well in hand.”

“We’ve got to win the next two,” continued coach Davis, “but we’re going to take it one game at a time – need to focus on our next game vs. Howard.”

With the win NMMI moves to 17-11 overall and evens up their 5th-place WJCAC record at 7-7.

Howard College is the team in fourth with an 8-5 conference mark – that’s the team NMMI needs to surpass in order to make it to the Region V Postseason tournament.

Howard comes to play NMMI on Thursday in what could be the deciding factor in who goes on to postseason play and who stays at home. Tip-off of that game is slated for 6:30 P.M. in NMMI’s Cahoon Armory gym. The NMMI Corps of Cadets will be in full attendance at the game and we encourage the Roswell community to come and help support our junior college Bronco basketball team.

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