Rodgers leads Southern to the "Big Dance"; Robinson in NCCAA national tourney


The 2015-16 college basketball season is down to its national championship weeks and the year for most players and teams has concluded. 'Athletes Beyond Bartow' still has two basketball players competiting for national titles, one in "The Big Dance" and the other in the National Christian Colleges national championship. Cartersville resident, Adrian Rodgers (photo above and right. Credit: Chris Jones/Chris Jones Photography), helped lead the Southern University Jaguars to a SWAC title and an NCAA bid last weekend in Houston, TX.




Former Excel Christian Academy standout, Elijah Robinson, is a starter for Emmanuel College. The Lions are a transitioning school to NCAA D-II, so the school was ineligible for NCAA D-II tournament play this year. As a result, they are competing in the National Christian Colleges Athletic Association's post-season. The Lions, who finished second in their NCAA D-II Conference Carolinas during the regular season, won the NCCAA South Regional last weekend to reach the final eight championship tournament.



ADRIAN RODGERS — Southern University (Sr., Cartersville, GA resident; Centennial HS; Maine Central Prep) . . .made a jump shot with 17 seconds left in the SWAC title game to lift Southern University to a 54-53 victory over Jackson State March 12, clinching the Jaguars' first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2013. He scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds with three assists in an 83-63 conference tournament quarterfinal game against Alabama State March 10 in Houston, TX. He followed that performance the next night with 16 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals in an 81-73 conference semifinal win over Texas Southern. In the conference championship game, with a bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line, Rodgers totaled seven points, 11 rebounds, an assist, and two steals in 35 minutes as the Jaguars edged Jackson State. Southern opens play in the NCAA Tournament’s field of 68 against Holy Cross on Wednesday (March 16) in Dayton, OH (5:40pm, TruTV). The opening round game winner advances to Spokane, WA to meet 1-seed, Oregon, March 18.



ELIJAH ROBINSON — Emmanual College (Jr., Excel Christian Academy) . . . started for the Lions in their 94-52 opening round win over Columbia International University (SC) at the National Christian College Athletic Association tournament South Regional played at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. Robinson totaled seven points, two rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 16 minutes. Most of his playing time was in the first half as Emmanuel took a commanding 48-18 lead to the intermission. In the Lions NCCAA South Regional championship game against Carver Bible College (GA), Robinson contributed seven points, three rebounds, and four steals — again, as a starter playing mostly in the first half — during a 99-69 win. With the regional title, the Lions (24-5) advance to the NCCAA National Tournament where they have been made the No. 1 seed in the field of eight teams. Emmanuel opens play Wednesday (March 16) at 9:15pm against 8th-seeded Central Christian (KS). The tournament, which includes consolation rounds, continues through the national championship game on Saturday, March 19 at Grace College in Winona Lake, IN.

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