2014-2015 Men's Basketball Letters of Intent Signees
The following student-athletes have signed NJCAA letters of intent to continue their academic and basketball careers at Prairie State College beginning in the Fall 2014 semester:
- Wendell Daniels (T.F. South H.S.)
- Victor Trout (Thornridge H.S.)
- Brian Robinson (Bolingbrook H.S.)
After closing out the regular season with a furious 6-2 finish and a share of its first-ever Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference crown, the Prairie State College men's basketball team was ready for playoff action to begin.
Unfortunately for PSC, the Pioneers' dreams of reaching the NJCAA Championship Tournament were derailed Thursday night following a disheartening 61-59 loss to Black Hawk East in an NJCAA Region IV Quarterfinal in Chicago Heights.
The setback closed the Pioneers' season at 15-17.
What made the loss even more devastating was the fact that PSC owned a nine-point advantage at halftime.
Prairie State picked up another huge effort from sophomore forward Joe Hughes (Thornwood H.S.). The 6-foot-5 Hughes ended his PSC career in style, dropping in 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field. He also tore down seven rebounds, four of which came on the offensive side.
Hughes wasn't the only Pioneer to tally in double digits either as freshman guard Jamel Hill (T.F. North H.S.) sealed up an outstanding first year of collegiate basketball with a 17-point, six-rebound showing.
Freshman point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.), (8 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds) also played strong.
The Pioneers raced out to a 29-20 halftime advantage, but slowly began to see that lead slip away throughout much of the second period.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Black Hawk East's Torrance Evans gave the Warriors a 61-58 lead with 1:20 to play.
A free throw by PSC freshman forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.) closed the gap to 61-59, but it just wasn't enough.
Elgin Helps Psc Claim Share Of First-Ever Skyway Basketball Crown [February 24, 2014]
Typically, when a team finds itself with just three victories in its first 17 games, winning a conference championship probably isn't a very realistic goal.
Don't ever tell that to the Prairie State College men's basketball team, however.
Courtesy of an assist from league counterpart Elgin, the Pioneers, in stunning fashion Saturday afternoon, earned a share of their first-ever Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference men's basketball championship .
PSC earned a share of the crown following Elgin's stunning 72-66 triumph over Skyway front-runner Morton.
The Spartans victory created a three-way tie for the title as PSC, Morton and Oakton all ended up with 9-5 marks in Skyway action.
"Despite a dismal first half of the season, our guys never stopped believing in themselves," PSC head coach Mike Manderino said. "Our goal all year has been to get better each day and I think we've done that. We're playing our best basketball at the right time.
"One of the biggest keys for us this year was getting our leading scorer (sophomore Joe Hughes) and our high-impact freshman (Adrian Jeffries) back from injuries. Improved play from our point guard (freshman Rodney Smith) has been absolutely huge as well."
The Skyway championship is just the third ever by a PSC men's program and sixth overall in school history. All of Prairie State's Skyway championships have come since 2011.
The Pioneers will now host Black Hawk East in an NJCAA Region IV Quarterfinal contest Thursday in Chicago Heights (7:15 p.m.).
Elgin, IL --- In a perfect world, a collegiate basketball team would love to be playing at its collective best entering postseason play.
Of course it doesn't hurt to have its best players peaking as well.
While the Prairie State College men's basketball team has been far from perfect for a good portion of this season, they are playing into the aforementioned scenario quite well as of late.
Paced by sophomore forward Joe Hughes' second 30-plus-point outing of the campaign, the Pioneers rolled to a convincing 80-67 triumph over Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference foe Elgin Thursday night.
The 6-foot-5 Hughes led all scorers with a 30-point, 11-rebound showing. Thursday also marked the sixth double-double of the season for Hughes.
PSC's leading scorer (18.4 points per game) shot 12-of-19 from the field and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. Eight of his caroms came on the offensive side.
After a rough 4-13 start to the campaign, the Pioneers now find themselves just a game under the .500 mark (15-16) with the NJCAA Region IV playoffs slated to begin Thursday, February 27 at a still yet-to-be-determined location.
PSC also locked up its Skyway Conference schedule with a 9-5 overall mark, good for second place in the league standings. The finish marked the second time in head coach Mike Manderino's tenure that the Pioneers have soared so high.
Hughes wasn't the only Pioneer to produce a strong outing.
Freshman forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.) turned in another stellar evening, tallying 21 points while ripping down six rebounds.
Freshman guard Corey Rucker (Breman H.S.) also loomed large on the score sheet, depositing 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. He also pulled down eight rebounds.
Freshman guard Jamel Hill (T.F. North H.S.), (10 points, 6 assists), along with freshman point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.), (4 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists) also played well.
The Pioneers came out of the gates slowly and went into the intermission on the front side of a 40-37 score.
PSC went on to outscore the Spartans 40-30 in the second period.
Prairie State shot 46.5% (33-of-71) from the floor with a 10-of-13 showing from the charity stripe.
When the Prairie State College men's basketball team squared off against arch rival Moraine Valley, just three days ago, it took every ounce of grit and determination inside each and every one of the Pioneers in order to sneak out of the Cyclone's home gym with a five-point victory.
Round 2 of the battle between the two longtime foes didn't prove to be quite the nail-biter that its predecessor was.
Thanks in part to a trio of double-doubles, head coach Mike Manderino's team won for a third straight time, knocking off the Cyclones 88-77 on "Sophomore Night" in Chicago Heights.
With the win, the Pioneers pushed their overall record to 12-17 with an 8-5 mark in Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference play.
Leading the charge for PSC was freshman guard Jamel Hill (T.F. North H.S.). The 6-foot-1 Hill posted career-highs all across the board, registering personal bests in points (20) and rebounds (15). The 164-pounder also dished out five assists and made off with a trio of steals. Eight of his rebounds came on the offensive side.
Freshman point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) recorded his seventh 20-plus-point game of the season, dropping in 21, while handing out a career-high 11 helpers.
Sophomore forward Joe Hughes (Thornwood H.S.), performing in his last regular-season conference home game, also came up big, depositing 20 points while pulling down 12 caroms for his second double-double in three games.
Freshman forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.), (15 points, 6 rebounds) and freshman guard Corey Rucker (Breman H.S.), (10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) also played well.
"Strong play from both of our guards, Rodney and Jamel, was really big for us tonight," Manderino said. "Joe was solid too as well as Adrian."
PSC raced out to a 40-26 halftime lead. The Pioneers established their largest advantage at 80-61, following a pair of free throws by Smith with 5:11 to go.
PSC shot 36-of-70 from the floor (51.4%) to Moraine Valley's 28-of-65 (43.1%).
The Pioneers will close out conference play on Thursday when they travel to Elgin for a road tilt with the Spartans (7:15 p.m.).
Sugar Grove, IL --- After narrowly missing a double-double in five straight contests, Prairie State College sophomore forward Joe Hughes (Thornwood H.S.) knew he would break through with two columns of twin-digit statistics eventually.
Fortunately for PSC, that night came Thursday.
Thanks in large part to Hughes' 17-point, 14-rebound outing, the Pioneers were able to outlast Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference counterpart Waubonsee, 58-47.
With the win, PSC now moves to 10-17 overall and 5-5 in Skyway action.
The Pioneers also bested the Chiefs, 60-53, on Jan. 23 at the PSC Fieldhouse.
Thursday's win came as a welcome relief following PSC's 86-73 loss to Lake County Tuesday night.
Hughes' double-double was his fourth of the campaign. PSC's 6-foot-5, 188-pound inside force, could very well have posted 12 this season, however, having narrowly missed the feat by one rebound in five contests on the slate.
Hughes, who also made off with a trio of steals, wasn't the only Pioneer to reach the double-digit scoring plateau.
Freshman forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.) added 16 points and seven rebounds.
Freshman shooting guard Corey Rucker (Bremen H.S.) also performed well, missing his career scoring high by a single tally, chipping in 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from behind the three-point arc. He also dished out five assists.
PSC led 31-21 at the break, but the Chiefs roared back early in the second stanza, trimming the Pioneers' 33-31 with 15:53 to play.
A trey from Rucker and layup by Jeffries gave PSC breathing room at 40-34, however.
Another Jeffries' basket, coupled with a strong putback by Hughes, made it a 44-34 game and Prairie State never looked back.
The Pioneers will now travel to Palos Hills to take on longtime league nemesis Moraine Valley in a 1 p.m. showdown.
Crystal Lake, IL --- Sophomore forward Joe Hughes (Thornwood H.S.) posted his sixth consecutive contest in double figures, but it just wasn't enough as the Prairie State College men's basketball team fell to Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference foe Lake County 69-62 Tuesday night.
The loss was PSC's second straight.
The 6-foot-5 Hughes, who currently sits fifth nationally in minutes-per-game (33) shot 8-of-15 from the field and 5-of-7 from the free-throw line. He recorded 15 of points in the first half. PSC leading scorer, (18.1 points per game) also ripped down six rebounds, dished out three assists and made off with a pair of steals.
With the setback, PSC fell to 9-17 overall and 5-5 in Skyway contests.
Hughes wasn't the only Pioneer to post a solid effort, however.
Freshman forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.), (15 points) and freshman guard Jamel Hill (12 points, 6 rebounds) both turned in fine outings.
Freshman point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) tallied nine points while chipping in six assists.
PSC hung in the contest early, trailing just 13-12, following a three-pointer from Smith with 11:14 to go in the opening stanza. The Lancers would build a sizeable lead by intermission however, going into the break in charge of the tilt 39-29.
The Pioneers outscored Lake County 33-30 in the tilt's second 20 minutes.
Prairie State surged back into contention late, using a Hughes jumper to make it a 64-58 game with 47 seconds to play.
Five free-throws down the stretch sealed the deal for the Lancers however.
The Pioneers will now travel to Sugar Grove for a Thursday road test against league foe Waubonsee (tipoff 7:15 p.m.).
Pioneers Knock Off First-Place Morton, Claim Sixth In A Row [February 4, 2014]
Cicero, IL --- The 2013-14 campaign truly has been the proverbial tale of two seasons for the Prairie State College men's basketball team.
There's the "season" prior to PSC's Jan. 18 loss to Oakton and the "season" after it.
Without question, the two campaigns are polar opposites of each other with the post Jan. 18 portion far more favorable than the pre.
Tuesday night in Cicero, PSC continued its torrid run through the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference with a hard-fought 81-76 triumph over league front-runner Morton.
The victory, Prairie State's sixth straight, pushed the Pioneers' overall record to 9-14 with a 5-2 mark in Skyway action.
Most importantly, the win also moved the Pioneers into a second place tie with Oakton (whom they will take on Thursday in Chicago Heights).
One of the main factors surrounding the Pioneers' resurgence, has been the return of freshman forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.) from a heart procedure.
In the seven games since his return, Jeffries has averaged 16.2 points per contest.
The 6-foot-3 post player led PSC with 22 tallies Tuesday, courtesy of an 8-of-13 showing from the field and 6-of-8 showing from the free-throw line. He also pulled down six rebounds.
Freshman guard Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) also chipped in a solid outing, registering 16 points, eight rebounds and two steals.
Sophomore forward Joe Hughes (Thornwood H.S.) delivered a 15-point, nine-rebound showing of his own.
Freshman point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) also scored 15 points and handed out eight assists.
Freshman guard Corey Rucker (Bremen H.S.) also notched a career-best 11 points and eight rebounds.
PSC raced out to a 48-33 advantage at intermission.
The Pioneers attained a 20-point cushion, 72-52, following a Bruce free throw with 6:47 to play.
What seemed to be a double-digit victory for the Pioneers soon turned into a dogfight as Morton roared back into contention, thanks in large part to 21 points from Nicholas Dixon.
Dixon's one-man scoring barrage almost entirely evaporated PSC's substantial advantage, sliming the score to 72-69, following a three-pointer by Dixon, with 2:31 to play.
Fortunately for PSC, two free throws by Smith, with 14 seconds left, sealed the deal.
Thursday's contest with the Raiders is set to tip off at 7:15 p.m.
PSC Claims Fifth Straight Thanks To Big All Around Efforts [January 30, 2014]
Things have certainly come together nicely of late for the Prairie State College men's basketball team.
Winners of four straight entering their home date with Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference foe Elgin on Thursday, the Pioneers were, without question, riding high on a wave of confidence.
And after a solid 88-79 triumph over the Spartans at the PSC Fieldhouse, that confidence only grew.
With the win Prairie State moved to 8-14 overall and 4-2 in league play.
Despite dropping their first two Skyway tilts, Thursday's triumph pushed the Pioneers into sole possession of third place in the league standings.
All five of the consecutive victories have come on PSC's home floor.
The Pioneers were paced by a plethora of sterling efforts as sophomore forward Joe Hughes (Thornwood H.S.) and freshman point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) set the tone. Hughes posted a game-high 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field while Smith garnered 19 tallies, thanks to a 7-of-10 showing.
Hughes also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds while Smith gathered eight of his own.
The 5-foot-11, 178-pound Smith also narrowly missed the first triple-double of his career as he also equaled his career-high with a nine-assist outing.
Smith has reached double figures in the scorer's book 15 times on the slate.
Hughes' scoring effort was his 16th in double figures this season.
Three other Pioneers reached twin digits as freshman forward Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.), (14 points, 3 steals, 2 assists), freshman forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.), (13 points, 3 steals, 2 assists, 2 rebounds) and freshman guard Jamel Hill (T.F. North H.S.), (10 points, 5 rebounds) all achieved the feat.
Sophomore forward Naushay Turner (Thornwood H.S.), (6 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds) and freshman forward Kyle Carpenter (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.), (3 points, assist) also contributed.
PSC ran out to a 49-40 advantage at intermission as both teams tallied 39-point efforts in the second stanza.
PSC shot 32-of-58 from the field (55.2%) to Elgin's 26-of-63 (41.3%).
The Spartans out-rebounded the Pioneers 40-32.
Prairie State attained its largest lead of the night (67-48) when Smith cruised in for a layup at the 13:27 mark of the second period.
PSC will now travel north to Crystal Lake for a road contest against Skyway counterpart McHenry on Saturday (3 p.m.).
Smith And Jeffries Team Up To Deliver Fourth Straight For PSC [January 25, 2014]
All season long, Prairie State College men's basketball coach Mike Manderino has been well aware that his team has been playing far below its collective potential.
Finally, over the course of the Pioneers' last four games however, that trend has begun to disappear.
Saturday afternoon in Chicago Heights, Prairie State ran its current win streak to four, following a convincing 90-61 triumph over Truman at the PSC Fieldhouse.
Saturday's contest was a makeup tilt originally scheduled for Jan. 7.
The win marked PSC's second straight triumph over the Falcons, having also bested them 87-68 on Nov. 19 in Chicago.
On Saturday, Prairie State (7-14) was once again paced by standout freshman point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.). Smith chipped in a twenty-plus-point outing for the second consecutive game, this time contributing 25 points and four steals to the Pioneers' cause.
The 5-foot-11 Smith has reached the double-digit scoring plateau in each of his last five contests and has 14 twin-tally showings for the season.
In addition to Smith's effort, freshman forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.) also stood tall, notching the first double-double of his collegiate career, courtesy of a 20-point, 12-rebound effort.
The 6-foot-3 Jeffries has now reached double figures in the scoring column in each of his last six games.
Jeffries' dozen rebounds were also a career best.
Freshman forward Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.), (16 points, 9 rebounds), freshman guard Jamel Hill (T.F. North H.S.), (14 points, 6 assists) and freshman guard Corey Rucker (Bremen H.S.), (9 points, 4 rebounds) also turned in fine performances.
PSC's swarming, high-pressure defense forced the Falcons into 29 turnovers. The Pioneers accumulated 15 steals, with each starter picking up at least one.
PSC bolted out of the starting blocks, running out to an 11-2 advantage less than four minutes into the contest, thanks in part to four points from Smith.
The Pioneers led 48-28 at the break and posted their largest lead of the afternoon at 90-59 when Rucker converted on a putback attempt with 49 seconds left.
PSC will return to action on Tuesday when they face Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference rival Moraine Valley (7:15 p.m.).
Smith's 26 Help Tow Pioneers To Third Straight Win [January 23, 2014]
When it comes to Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference roundball rivalries, the one between Prairie State College and Waubonsee is near the top.
The contests are always spirited and the competition fierce.
Thursday night proved to be no different.
The Pioneers (6-14, 3-2) won for the third straight time, upending the Chiefs in a hotly-contested 60-53 triumph in Chicago Heights.
PSC freshman point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) set the pace for the Pioneers, posting a career-high 26 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field. The 5-foot-11 Smith played strong all night, taking the ball to the rim with authority on several occasions in key situations.
Smith, who knocked down a pair of three-pointers, also secured a team-best seven rebounds. He recorded 15 of his points in the game's second 20 minutes.
Smith's effort was his 13th in double figures and third of 20 or more tallies this season.
Prairie State's only other double-digit scorer was sophomore forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.), who's 10-point showing proved to be his fifth straight in twin digits.
Freshman guard Jamel Hill (T.F. North H.S.), (9 points), sophomore forward Joe Hughes (Thornwood H.S.), (6 points) and freshman forward Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.),(5 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) also contributed.
Both squads battled back and forth throughout the opening half before the Chiefs took a 35-33 lead into the break.
A Bruce steal resulted in a Smith layup, lifting PSC to a 41-38 lead with 14:15 to play.
The two players reversed rolls one minute later when Bruce connected on a short jump shot, courtesy of an assist by Smith, giving PSC a 43-38 advantage as the Pioneers never relinquished the lead.
For the game, Prairie State shot 23-of-51 from the field (45.1%) and 11-of-17 from the fre-throw line (64.7%).
Waubonsee only managed to get to the line 12 times and converted on just five attempts.
PSC will now host Truman in a non-conference tilt, rescheduled from Jan. 7, on Saturday (1 p.m.).
Pioners Post First Winning Streak Of Campaign [January 21, 2014]
For the first time during the 2013-14 season, the Prairie State College men's basketball team can officially declare itself on a winning streak.
The Pioneers won their second game in a row for the first time this year, courtesy of a 79-71 triumph over Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference foe Lake County Tuesday night at the PSC Fieldhouse.
Helping Prairie State (5-14, 2-2) tremendously was the return of sophomore forward Joe Hughes (Thornwood H.S.). Hughes was forced into a spectator's role after being sidelined in each of PSC's last two contests with a shoulder injury.
After posting a game-high 24 points Tuesday, Hughes now has reached the double-digit scoring plateau 15 times on the slate.
Freshman point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) also scored in double figures for the 12th time this season, dropping in 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. He also ripped down seven rebounds while handing out four assists.
Two other Pioneers also scored in twin digits as freshman forwards Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) and Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.) tallied 13 and 12 points respectively.
Freshman guard Jamel Hill (T.F. North H.S.) chipped in eight points while hauling down a game-high 11 rebounds.
While the end outcome was certainly positive, the Pioneers didn't exactly get off on the right foot, trailing 20-10 with 12:04 to play in the opening stanza.
PSC eventually climbed back, taking its first lead of the tilt (30-28) at the 6:22 mark, courtesy of a pair of free throws by Hughes.
The Pioneers went to the locker room with a 40-32 advantage.
PSC will be in action next on Thursday when it plays host to perennial league power Waubonsee (7:15 p.m.).
JEffries Makes Statement, Drives Psc To First Skyway Triumph [January 18, 2014]
If anyone doubted whether Prairie State College freshman forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.) could quickly get himself back in game shape after missing over a month with a now-corrected heart condition, they were most certainly proven wrong Saturday afternoon.
The 6-foot-3 Jeffries showed strong stamina, logging 30 minutes while leading the Pioneers to a nail-biting 68-66 triumph over Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference counterpart McHenry at the PSC Fieldhouse in Chicago Heights.
The triumph was Prairie State's first in league play, bumping their overall record to 4-14 and conference mark to 1-2.
Jeffries set the pace for the contest, tying the Scots' Demarcus Vines for game-high scoring honors as each recorded 21-point outputs. The big point total proved to be a career high for Jeffries, who also cleaned up the glass, ripping down a team-high nine rebounds, several of which came at critical moments in the contest.
Three other Pioneers scored in double figures as freshman guard Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.), (14 points), freshman point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.), (10 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals) and freshman forward Kyle Carpenter (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.), (10 points, 6 assists, 3 steals) all achieved the feat.
PSC was again without the services of leading scorer Joe Hughes (17.9 points per game), who remains sidelined with an upper body injury.
Both squads engaged in a seesaw battle throughout the opening half, before the Scots eventually pulled out to a 31-14 lead. A PSC 14-0 run, highlighted by five points from Bruce and four from Jeffries, trimmed the lead to 31-28.
McHenry went to the locker room on the front side of a 35-32 score.
A three-pointer from Carpenter, courtesy of a Smith assist, gave PSC a 52-49 edge with 9:18 to play.
After McHenry grabbed a 54-53 lead, a short Jeffries' jumper, thanks to an assist by Carpenter, gave the Pioneers a 59-58 advantage.
PSC fell behind 62-61 before a pair of free throws from Bruce lifted Prairie State to a 63-62 lead with 2:06 left..
A hard-driving Smith layup, coupled with a Carpenter free throw and two free throws from freshman guard Jamel Hill (T.F. North H.S.), sealed up the victory as Vines connected on a meaningless last-second layup as time expired.
As a team, PSC shot 24-of-61 (39.3%) from the field and 16-of-25 (64.0%) from the charity stripe.
The Pioneers will hit the floor next on Tuesday when they square off against Skyway counterpart Lake County at the Fieldhouse.
Smith's Big Night, Jeffries' Return Not Enough As Pioneers Fall At Oakton [January 16, 2014]
Des Plaines, IL --- Despite outscoring Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference counterpart Oakton 37-33 in the second half, the Prairie State College men's basketball team fell to 0-2 in league play following a frustrating 75-67 setback Thursday night.
The defeat marked the fifth straight for PSC (3-14, 0-2).
Despite the discouraging outcome, the Pioneers did play well in spurts.
Freshman point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) set the pace for both squads, pouring in a career and game-high 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field and a 6-of-6 showing from the free-throw line. The 5-foot-11, 178-pound Smith also dished out six assists and made off with a trio of steals.
The double-digit outing was Smith's 10th of the campaign.
Thursday's tilt also marked the triumphant return of freshman forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.). The 6-foot-3 inside force poured in a season-high 16 tallies while pulling down seven rebounds.
Jeffries hadn't played in a game since Nov. 26, missing over a month following an outpatient procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat.
Jeffries, who logged 26 minutes, 57 seconds of floor time, was forced to carry a heavier workload in his initial contest due to an upper body injury to sophomore forward Joe Hughes (Thornwood H.S.).
Smith and Jeffries were PSC's only twin-digit scorers. Sophomore forward Naushay Turner (Thornwood H.S.) and freshman guard Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) each tallied seven points apiece.
Freshman guard Jamel Hill (T.F. North H.S.) hauled down a club-high nine rebounds.
The Pioneers trailed 42-30 at the break.
PSC made a serious run late when Jeffries sunk a free throw with 4:50 to play, making it a 62-57 contest. Unfortunately for PSC, Jeffries' conversion was followed by a 6-0 Oakton run, effectively sealing the contest.
The Pioneers will be in action next on Saturday when they host league foe McHenry at the PSC Fieldhouse.
Hughes Drops In 28, But Morton Downs Pioneers At Home [January 14, 2014]
Sophomore forward Joes Hughes (Thornwood H.S.) narrowly missed his fourth double-double of the campaign, pouring in 28 points and ripping down nine rebounds, but it wasn't enough as the Prairie State College men's basketball team fell to Morton 66-59 Tuesday evening at the PSC Fieldhouse.
The contest was the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference opener for PSC (3-13, 0-1).
The Pioneers shot just 35 percent from the field and committed 12 turnovers.
The 6-foot-5 Hughes, who scored in double figures for the 16th time on the slate, produced a 10-of-15 showing from the field. He has now reached double figures in the scorer's column in each of his last three games.
The Pioneers top post threat kept PSC in the tilt throughout the early going, tallying 16 of his points during the game's first 20 minutes.
Hughes wasn't the only Pioneer to contribute heavily however as freshman guard Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) delivered an 18-point outing of his own. He also pulled down nine caroms. Bruce has now reached the twin-digit scoring plateau in eight contests this season.
Freshman forward Kyle Carpenter's (Lincoln-Way Central) six points (two 3-pointers) proved to be PSC's next highest individual scoring effort.
Morton led 36-27 at the break.
A free throw by freshman guard Jamel Hill (T.F. North H.S.) made it a 57-53 game with 4:06 to play, but PSC was unable to draw any closer.
The Pioneers will now travel to Des Plaines for a Thursday road date against Oakton (7:15 p.m. tipoff).
Pioneers Can't Hang On At United Center[January 11, 2014]
Chicago, IL --- The Prairie State College men's basketball team received an opportunity afforded to very few programs: the chance to perform in an NBA arena.
Aided by a strong throng of enthusiastic and dedicated fans, the Pioneers, for the second consecutive season, took on Illinois Valley at the United Center in Chicago and played a highly competitive game against the Eagles.
Unfortunately, PSC lost control of a late first-half lead and fell 72-58 on the home floor of the Chicago Bulls.
With the setback, the Pioneers dropped to 3-12 on the campaign.
PSC was paced by freshman point guard Rodney Smith's (Thornwood H.S.) 13-point attack, made possible mostly by a 7-of-7 effort from the free-throw line.
Three other Pioneers also reached double digits in the scorer's column as sophomore Joe Hughes (Thornwood H.S.) and freshman forward Kyle Carpenter (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.) both recorded 12-point showings.
For the 6-foot Carpenter, his dozen tallies marked a career-high.
Freshman guard Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) also dropped in 10 points.