Balanced scoring lifts DMACC men's basketball team past ICCC

Balanced scoring lifts DMACC men's basketball team past ICCC

Freshman Ryan Schmitt of Van Meter scored 21 points and sophomores Zach Lester of Clear Lake and Demarion Bariffe-Smith of Skokie, Ill., and freshman Willie Guy of Cedar Rapids came away with 17 points apiece in leading the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) men's basketball team to an 86-70 win over Iowa Central Community College (ICCC) March 3 inside the DMACC gymnasium.


The victory came in the quarterfinals of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Region XI Men's Basketball Championship and moved the Bears into the March 5 semifinals where they will face Iowa Lakes Community College (ILCC).


DMACC, ranked fifth in the NJCAA Division II poll, improved to 27-4 with the win.


The Bears, seeded second in the tournament, never trailed in the win, leading 56-35 at halftime and controlling the tempo throughout the second half. ICCC, which closed the season at 10-20, closed to within four at 62-58, but baskets by Schmitt and Bariffe-Smith and a three-pointer from freshman Mark Bradshaw of Chester, Penn., pushed DMACC's advantage to 69-58 and ICCC got it to 73-70 with 4:36 to go but the Bears closed the game out with a 13-0 run. 

The Bears shot 50 percent in the win, hitting 34 of 68 field goal attempts. They were 11-of-24 from three-point range and 7-of-11 from the free throw line. Lester paced DMACC from the field, hitting six of seven shots, including all five of his three-point attempts.


Bariffe-Smith and Schmitt recorded double-doubles with 12 and 10 rebounds respectively as the Bears came away with a 45-26 advantage on the boards. Lester topped DMACC in assists with seven and Guy and Schmitt added five apiece.


The DMACC-ILCC game will be played at 7 p.m. inside the DMACC gymnasium. The two teams split their regular season games. ILCC, seeded third and ranked 10th in the NJCAA Division II poll, won by a 69-59 scored Jan. 22 at Estherville. DMACC returned the favor with an 81-77 win Feb. 19 inside the DMACC gymnasium.


The DMACC-ILCC winner will play either top-seeded Kirkwood Community College (KCC) or fourth-seeded North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) in the Region XI championship game at 3 p.m. March 7 at the home of the highest seeded team.