The Genesee Community College men's basketball team out-scored Mercyhurst North East 25-13 in the final dozen minutes to break a 46-46 tie and advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association Region III Final Four with a 71-59 win. The Cougars will now face Erie Community College in the region semifinals at 6 p.m. March 10.
Rahmel Thompson scored half of his game-high 30 points down the stretch when the Cougars needed him most. After a three gave the Cougars a 46-44 lead, Mercyhurst tied the game one last time before another Thompson three gave the Cougars the lead for good.
After consecutive threes, Thompson would add another nine down the stretch and help the team to a double-digit lead before the final horn.
The Saints started the game on fire with a 7-0 run and maintained that lead throughout the first 10 minutes of the first half with a 16-9 lead. Genesee went on a 10-0 run to take a 19-16 lead with six minutes remaining before settling on a 32-30 lead at the half.
Mercyhurst responded with a 38-36 lead early in the second half and went up by as much as four twice at 42-38 and 44-40 before Thompson exploded for the Cougars.
The sophomore finished the game with a double-double performance with a team-high 11 rebounds, while teammate Brian Fobbs also recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards.
Jordan Smart also had a double-digit performance with 10 points and the along with Thompson and Fobbs, the trio was the team's top-three rebounders.
Thompson's 30 points moved him into 11th place on the all-time career Cougar scoring list and he now needs 18 more points to move into the top-10 to pass Dave Spiller (1975-77).