DANVILLE, IL. - Joe Retic II scored the team's final five points, including the game-tying and go-ahead field goals, as the Express men's basketball team stormed back from a 14-point deficit to defeat No. 11 Iowa Lakes Community College in the NJCAA D-II National Tournament.
Colton Neff hit a lay-in to put Iowa Lakes up 65-51 with 8:13 left in the game. It was the largest of the game for Iowa Lakes, who had led the Express for the game's first 39 minutes.
Andy Bachman then hit a 3-pointer for the Express, but Iowa Lakes' Deondre Parks hit a jumper to push the lead back to 13 with 7:26 left.
James Kelly then inserted his presence into the game with eight straight points. He hit a driving jumper in the paint to the right of the hoop, made a tip-dunk, hit a straightaway jumper in the paint and converted another dunk on an alley-oop pass from Markese Allen that cut the deficit to 67-62 with 4:42 left.
Following that, Parks hit four free throws and Tony Boykins made a second chance lay-up for the Express to put the score at 71-64 with 2:41 left.
Allen then hit a jumper in the lane, followed by another 3-pointer from Bachman, this one from the right corner on an assist from Allen, to pull the Express within two, 71-69, with 1:32 left.
After a missed lay-up from Iowa Lakes, Retic made a driving floater to tie it at 71-all with just over a minute left. After a turnover by Kelly Madison of Iowa Lakes, Retic struck again, this time with a midrange jumper from the left corner to give the Express the lead.
After Madison made 1-for-2 at the foul line, Retic returned the favor with 1-for-2 at the line as the Express led 74-72 with 17 seconds left.
Iowa Lakes then missed three shots over the final 17 seconds as the Express secured their first NJCAA National Tournament win since 2000.
Retic finished with a team-high 17 points, along with three assists, two rebounds and two steals, while Kelly added 16 points, six rebounds and a key block late.
Bachman was the third Express player in double figures with 12. He added six rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Chris Wilson (7 pts, 6 reb) and Allen (7 pts, team-high 6 ast, 5 reb) helped the Express bench outscore the Iowa Lakes bench 28-11.
Parks led Iowa Lakes with 22 points, while Josh Schaben had 17 points and eight rebounds. Ben Shellim added 11 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Kevin Larson had a team-high five assists.
The Express only turned the ball over eight times, compared to 16 for Iowa Lakes.