News

Smith Sets New PSC Career Assists Mark as Pioneers’ Season Comes to an End [February 26, 2015]

Rodney Smith drives to the basket
FILE PHOTO BY NATHAN
ALBERT: Rodney Smith set
a new PSC career assists
record in Thursday night's
season-ending loss at
kishwaukee.


MALTA, Ill. --- If it had to be played over again, Prairie State College sophomore point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) would most certainly have taken the ‘W’ over the record.

Unfortunately however, Smith and the Pioneers saw their season come to a close Thursday evening in Malta, following an 89-75 NJCAA Region IV Quarterfinal loss to Kishwaukee.

Smith, who tallied 18 points in 40 minutes of action, dished out nine assists in his final game as a Pioneer, giving him 324 for his illustrious two-year run in Chicago Heights; thus setting a new school record.

Smith’s mark surpasses the previous standard of 320, shared by former Pioneers Brandon Merke and Tim Hardy.

The 6-foot Smith also holds Prairie State’s single-game assist record with 13, set during an 89-72 win over Elgin on February 5.

Leading the charge for the Pioneers in the scoring column was sophomore forward Jalen Miller (Rich Central H.S.). The 6-foot-4 Miller delivered a 21-point showing on 8-of-17 shooting from the field. He also made off with five steals.

Freshmen forwards Nate Skrobot (Homeschooled) and Jason Hines (Evergreen Park H.S.) both chipped in 14-tally efforts. The 6-foot, 207-pound Skrobot ripped down a team-high five rebounds.

The Pioneers, who closed the campaign with a 6-25 mark, trailed 43-37 at the break, before doggedly fighting their collective way back into the contest over the course of the second period.

A converted free t-throw by Miller and back-to-back baskets by Hines pulled PSC to within two at 71-69 with 7:05 to play.

Unfortunately, three minutes later, the Kougars owned a substantial 11-point lead at 80-69.

On a positive note, head coach Mike Manderino’s team will return as many as four players who logged a considerable amount minutes in 2014-15.

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Pioneers Put Forth Valiant Effort, Fall to Morton in Home Finale [February 19, 2015]

As has been the case all season long, the Prairie State College men’s basketball team once again turned in another stellar effort Thursday in its Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference finale with Morton at the PSC Fieldhouse.

With the setback, PSC’s overall season mark fell to 6-24 with a 4-10 ledger in league play.

Leading the way for PSC once again was sophomore point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) who delivered another stellar outing, dropping in a team-high 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field while dishing out 10 assists and pulling in six rebounds.

Sophomore forward Jalen Miller (Rich Central H.S.) also produced another strong showing, tallying 20 points while ripping down 10 rebounds of his own for his ninth double-double in just 17 games.

Sophomore guard Kyle Carpenter (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.) also performed well, tallying 12 points while knocking down four three-pointers.

The most heart-wrenching aspect of Thursday’s contest was the fact that the Pioneers actually held a 48-40 edge at halftime.

PSC shot 30-of-56 for the evening to Morton’s 26-of-61.

The Pioneers will now enter postseason play at still-to-be-determined location.

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Smith, Miller Set the Pace as PSC Claims Season Sweep Over Waubonsee [Feb. 12, 2015]

Jalen Miller Reverse Layup
FILE PHOTO BY NATHAN 
ALBERT: Jalen Miller
recorded his 8th double-
double of the campaign
Thursday night.

Rodney Smith to the hoop
FILE PHOTO BY NATHAN
ALBERT: Rodney Smith
scored in double figures for
the 20th straight time this
season Thursday.

Traditionally, the men’s basketball program at Waubonsee year in and year out is one of the finest in all of the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference. Any time that a squad can claim two wins over head coach Dave Heiss’ club, it’s considered an accomplishment of mighty proportions.

The Prairie State College men’s basketball team did just that Thursday night, claiming the season sweep over the Chiefs via a 63-53 triumph in Chicago Heights.

PSC (6-22, 4-8) also upended Waubonsee 70-61 on January 22 in Sugar Grove.

Sophomore point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) reached the double-digit scoring plateau for the 20th time on the season, delivering a 19-point, four-assist, three-steal showing. The 6-foot Smith continues to close ground on the Prairie State all-time assist record of 320. Smith, who currently resides in the second slot on the all-time ledger, now has 277 career helpers.

Smith is also making his presence felt on the national leader boards as well. PSC’s two-year starter at the “one position" currently leads the country in minutes per game (38.3). He is second in total minutes (919), 15th in total assists (136) and 45th in total points (415).

On both ends of the floor Thursday it was sophomore forward Jalen Miller (Rich Central H.S.), who once again turned in another stellar overall showing.

The 6-foot-4 Miller posted his eighth double-double of the slate, tallying 16 points while hauling down 13 rebounds, making off with five steals, blocking a quartet of shots and handing out four more assists.

PSC’s other double-digit scorer came in the person of sophomore guard Rayshoun Bruce (Thornton H.S.). The 6-foot-1 Bruce registered 11 points (three 3-pointers) and dished out six assists while competing in the full 40 minutes of action.

Freshman forward Capriest Gardner (Richards H.S.), (6 points, 4 rebounds), sophomore guard Kyle Carpenter (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.), (6 points) and freshman forward Nate Skrobot (Homeschooled), (5 points, 4 rebounds) all made solid contributions to the Pioneers’ cause.

PSC burst out of the gates like a team on a mission, staking claim to an 11-0 lead, thanks in part to a steal and layup by Smith, three-ball from Skrobot and another steal and layup by Miller.

The Pioneers took a 35-20 advantage into the intermission.

PSC out-rebounded the Chiefs 32-28 and shot 43.4% from the field (23-of-53) to Waubonsee’s 41.9% (18-of-43).

The Pioneers will now travel to Palos Hills for a road date against Skyway arch rival Moraine Valley on Tuesday (7 p.m.).


 

Gardner Cleans Up the Glass While Smith Sets Pace in Another PSC Win [Feb. 10, 2015]

Capriest Gardner to the basket
FILE PHOTO BY NATHAN ALBERT:
Freshman Capriest Gardner ripped
down a career-best 17 rebounds in
Tuesday night's win.

To say that Prairie State College freshman forward Capriest Gardner (Richards H.S.) “cleaned up” on the glass Tuesday night in the Pioneers’ Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference contest against Lake County would be an understatement, and a colossal one at that.

Gardner soared to a career-high 17 rebounds as the Pioneers downed the Lancers 76-50 at the PSC Fieldhouse.

With the win, Prairie State improved to 5-22 overall and 3-8 in Skyway action.

Leading the way offensively for the Pioneers was sophomore point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) who slashed his way to the hoop with several dazzling shots en route to a game-high 25-point showing on 9-of-14 shooting from the field.

The 6-foot Smith also added another seven assists to his pursuit of former Pioneers Tim Hardy and Brandon Merke’s PSC all-time record of 320 helpers. Smith has now dished out 273 assists over the course of his two seasons.

Gardner’s big night on the boards was also the fifth-best single-game rebounding effort in Prairie State history.

The Pioneers also benefited from another workmanlike effort from sophomore Rayshoun Bruce (Thornton H.S.). The 6-foot-1 Bruce deliverd 16 points (three 3-pointers). He also handed out six assists.

Lost in the shuffle of Smith and Gardner’s big night’s was the 15-point contest turned in by freshman forward Nate Skrobot (Homeschooled). The 6-foot-, 207-pound Skrobot knocked down 5-of-11 shots (all three-pointers) on the way to the second- largest scoring output of his career.

Sophomore forward Jalen Miller (Rich Central H.S.) saw his streak of five consecutive games of scoring in double digits come to an end with an eight-point showing. The 6-foot-4 Miller did chip in his eighth double-figure rebounding showing however with a 10-carom tilt. He also blocked a trio of shots.

Freshman forward Jason Hines (Evergreen Park H.S.) contributed eight hard-fought tallies of his own.

A Skrobot three-pointer, courtesy of a Bruce assist, gave PSC a 20-17 lead with 8:10 to play in the opening period. The Pioneers would never trail again.

Prairie State went to the locker room up 38-31.

The Pioneers shot 26-of-65 from the field (40.0%) for the game.

Prairie State will hit the floor next on Thursday when it hosts Waubonsee at the PSC Fieldhouse (7 p.m.).

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Smith, Miller and Bruce Reach Double Figures, but Pioneers Fall at Oakton [Feb. 7, 2015]

Jalen MIller layup
FILE PHOTO BY NATHAN
ALBERT: Jalen Miller Tallied
17 pts. Saturday afternoon.

DES PLAINES, Ill. --- Despite another hard-fought effort and trio of double-digit scorers, the Prairie State College men’s basketball team fell to Oakton Saturday afternoon by a lopsided final count of 81-59 in Des Plaines.

With the setback, the Pioneers dropped to 4-22 overall and 2-8 in Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference play.

Leading the charge for PSC were sophomore point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) and sophomore forward Jalen Miller (Rich Central H.S.), both of whom paced head coach Mike Manderino’s club with identical 17-point efforts.

Smith, who holds a strong chance of breaking PSC’s all-time assists record of 320, added another six to his ledger, upping his career total to 266.

Miller, the reigning NJCAA Region IV Player of the Week, pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. He also blocked a quartet of shots.

Sophomore guard Rayshoun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) dropped in 14 points and pulled down four rebounds.

Things looked more than positive in the opening moments for PSC as the Pioneers took a 4-0 lead following a layup and two free throws by Miller in the first three minutes.

After the Raiders had taken a 5-4 lead, Miller, who tallied PSC’s first six points, dropped in two more charity attempts, to give PSC a 6-5 edge. Unfortunately, the Pioneers would never lead again.

Oakton took a 43-27 advantage into the locker room and established its largest lead at 69-43 with 5:53 to play.

PSC was outrebounded 41-30 for the game and connected on just 16-of-49 (32.7%) field goal attempts to the Raiders’ 29-of-57 (50.9%).

The Pioneers outperformed Oakton at the foul line, turning in a 21-of-29 effort to the Raiders’ 18-of-29.

PSC won’t have much time to lick it’s collective wounds as the Pioneers host Lake County in a Skyway tilt, Tuesday (7 p.m.).

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Smith Sets PSC Single-Game Assists Mark as Pioneers Roll Past Elgin [Feb. 5, 2015]

Rodney Smith handling the basketball
FILE PHOTO BY NATHAN ALBERT:
Sophomore Rodney Smith set the
new PSC single-game assist record
Thursday night.

In the entire history of men’s basketball at Prairie State College, four of the program’s point guards have tallied 12 assists in a single game.

There had yet to be a Pioneer who amassed more than that.

Until Thursday night, that is.

Sophomore point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) set a new single-contest standard at PSC, dishing out 13 helpers in a convincing 89-72 triumph over Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference foe Elgin in Chicago Heights.

Smith surpassed a record which had been shared by former Pioneers Darrin Alexander (2003-04 season), Ronald King (2006-07), Anthony Kleszczynski (2006-07) and Tim Hardy (2011-12).

The 6-foot Smith also made his presence felt in the tally book, leading all scorers with a 27-point effort on 6-of-16 shooting from the field (4 three-pointers).  PSC’s quick-footed point guard also put on a clinic at the free-throw line, dropping in 11-of-13 attempts.

Smith, who currently leads the nation in minutes per game (38.1), is also closing in on the Prairie State career assist record of 320 held by Hardy (2011-13) and Brandon Merke (2008-10). Through Thursday, Smith has compiled 260 career helpers (second all-time).

Not to be outdone, sophomore forward Jalen Miller (Rich Central H.S.), the reigning NJCAA Region IV Player of the Week, posted another stellar outing, recording his seventh double-double of the campaign and fourth straight.

The 6-foot-4 Miller deposited 26 points while pulling down 10 rebounds and making off with six steals in 39 minutes of work.

Two other Pioneers also reached the twin-digit plateau as sophomore forward Rayshoun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) and freshman forward Capriest Gardner (Richards H.S.) recorded 12 and 10-point outings respectively.

Bruce and Gardner both ripped down six rebounds apiece.

The 6-foot-1 Bruce has now tallied in double figures in 21 games on the slate and has achieved the feat in each of his last eight outings.

Freshmen forwards Jason Hines (Evergreen Park H.S.), (8 points) and Nate Skrobot (Homeschooled), (8 points, 8 rebounds) also contributed heavily.

PSC led by only three at the break (35-32) before eventually constructing a 23-point edge at 74-51, following a three-pointer by Bruce with 7:00 to play.

For the tilt, PSC (4-21, 2-7) shot 31-of-61 from the field (50.8%) to Elgin’s 25-of-65 (38.5%).

The Pioneers outrebounded the Spartans 40-35.

Prairie State will see action next on Saturday when the team travels to Des Plaines for a road date with league counterpart Oakton.

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Miller Locks Down Region IV Player of the Week Award

Jalen Miller
Jalen Miller

The Prairie State College Athletic Department was pleased to learn Tuesday afternoon that sophomore forward Jalen Miller (Rich Central H.S.) was selected the NJCAA Region IV Player of the Week for the week ending February 1.

The 6-foot-4 Miller became PSC’s first recipient of the honor this season in the wake of two strong performances on January 27 and 29.

In those two games, Miller tallied 36 points, 31 rebounds, nine blocks, five steals and five assists.

“Jalen is very deserving of this award,” PSC head coach Mike Manderino said. “He’s one of the biggest reasons that our team has shown the improvement that it has over the course of the second half of this season. Jalen plays hard on both ends of the floor and is an extremely multifaceted player.”

In PSC’s home contest against Moraine Valley, January 27 Miller dropped in 19 points, while hauling down 16 rebounds, blocking eight shots, making off with three steals and handing out a pair of assists.

Against Morton, two days later, Miller was again impressive, dropping in 17 points while pulling in 15 rebounds.

In all, Miller has posted six double-doubles on the slate and is averaging 16.8 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per contest.

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Miller, Smith and Bruce Navigate PSC Back Into Win Column [Feb. 3, 2015]

Jalen Miller
Jalen Miller led all scorers with a
23-point effort in Tuesday night's
Triumph over McHenry.

With a trio of all-around players in sophomores Jalen Miller (Rich Central H.S.), Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) and Rayshoun Bruce (Thornton H.S.), it’s no wonder the Prairie State College men’s basketball team has improved dramatically over the second half of the 2014-15 season.

All three standout Pioneers put their respective skills to good use on Tuesday, teaming up to score an impressive 84-55 victory over Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference foe McHenry at the PSC Fieldhouse.

With the win, PSC improved to 3-21 overall and 1-7 in Skyway action.

Leading the charge on the stat sheet once again was Miller, who dropped in a game-high 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field and a 3-of-4 effort from the free-throw line. The 6-foot-4 Miller, who was tabbed the NJCAA Region IV Player of the Week for the week ending February 1, also ripped down a contest-high 18 rebounds.

Tuesday’s effort marked the fourth 20-plus-point showing of the slate for Miller (third straight). It was also his sixth double-double on the year (third straight).

Miller split his rebounds evenly on both the defensive and offensive glass (9 offensive, 9 defensive).

Smith wasn’t far behind in the scoring column, delivering 22 tallies on 8-of-17 shooting from the floor. The 6-foot Smith has now scored in twin digits in 19 contests this season and in each of his last eight. He also dished out a game-high 10 assists, his second-highest total of the campaign.

Bruce locked down his 20th double-figure scoring contest and third double-double of the schedule, courtesy of a 15-point, 11-rebound effort.

The Scots hung close throughout a portion of the first half before the Pioneers embarked on an 18-6 run, highlighted by seven points (two of which came on a thunderous, one-handed dunk) by Miller and two three-pointers by freshman forward Nate Skrobot (Homeschooled).

Prairie State headed to the locker room in command of the contest at 41-23.

Skrobot’s fourth trey of the tilt gave PSC a 30-point edge at 81-51 with 1:57 to play.

In addition to Miller, Smith and Bruce, Skrobot (14 points, 4 three-pointers) and freshman forward Jason Hines (Evergreen Park H.S.), (10 points, 7 rebounds) were also strong contributors.

The Pioneers will now host Skyway counterpart Elgin on Thursday (7 p.m. tipoff).

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Trio of Twin-Digit Scorers Aren’t Enough as PSC Falls to Arch Rival [January 27, 2015]

Despite another all-out, full-tilt battle, the Prairie State College men’s basketball team fell to Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference arch rival Moraine Valley Tuesday night by a final count of 61-56.

With the setback, the Pioneers now fall to 2-20 overall and 0-6 in Skyway Conference action.

Leading the charge for the Pioneers was freshman forward Jalen Miller (Rich Central H.S.) who recorded his fourth double-double and his seventh double-digit scoring effort of the slate.

The 6-foot-4 Miller deposited 19 points while ripping down 16 rebounds and swatting away eight shots. He also made off with three steals and dished out a pair of assists.

Miller wasn’t the lone Pioneer to score in double digits either as sophomore point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) and sophomore guard Rayshoun Bruce also achieved the feat.

Smith tallied 13 points while handing out six assists.

Bruce scored 12 times, dished out a quartet of assists and pulled down three rebounds.

The Pioneers trailed 27-25 at intermission before going on to be outscored 34-31 in the second half.

PSC will see action next on Thursday when it travels to Cicero for a Skyway clash against Morton (7 p.m.).

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Pioneers Fall in League Play for First Time, Despite Strong Showing from Smith [January 20, 2015]

Rodney Smith
Rodney Smith scored in double
figures for the 15th time this season.


GRAYSLAKE, Ill. --- With 14 double-digit scoring efforts already under his belt heading into Tuesday night's Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference clash with Lake County, Prairie State College sophomore point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) was ready to do whatever it took to keep the Pioneers undefeated in league play.

Unfortunately, his fifteenth just wasn’t enough.

The 6-foot- Smith turned in another stellar all-around effort, but PSC fell for the first time in Skyway action, 82-75 in Grayslake.

With the setback, the Pioneers watched their overall record dip to 5-15 and their conference mark to 3-1.

Smith, who tallied in twin figures for the 12th consecutive contest, dropped in 25 points while handing out seven assists and pulling down seven rebounds in an all-out effort.

Smith is averaging 17.5 points per game over the course of his current double-digit scoring streak.

The sure-handed Smith currently leads the nation in minutes per game (37.9).

Smith wasn’t alone when it came to strong offensive outputs either.

Freshman Jalen Miller (Rich Central H.S.) chipped in a 24-point, seven-rebound showing that included a trio of both blocks and steals. The 6-foot-4 Miller leads the Pioneers with a scoring average of 17.6 .

Sophomore Rayshoun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) also contributed 10 points.

Both teams fought back and forth throughout the contest’s opening minutes as each squad exchanged its share of leads before the Lancers moved out to a 41-36 edge at intermission.

Lake County established its largest lead at 61-50 with 9:35 to play. The Pioneers fought back to make it a 67-64 contest with 4:11 left following a hard-driving layup by Bruce.

That was as close as PSC would come to stealing away a victory however.

The Pioneers will see action next on Thursday when they travel to Sugar Grove for a league tilt against Waubonsee (7 p.m.).

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Smith’s Career-High 31 Help PSC Move to 3-0 In Skyway Action [January 18, 2015]

If anyone in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference was unfamiliar with Prairie State College sophomore point guard Rodney Smith, they shouldn’t be following his standout showing Saturday afternoon in Chicago Heights.

The 6-foot Smith most certainly made the league sit up and take notice in the wake of his career-high 31-point effort in the Pioneers’ hard-fought 73-68 victory over a talented Oakton squad at the PSC Fieldhouse.

More importantly than Smith’s stellar effort was the fact that the triumph helped push Prairie State to a perfect 3-0 mark and first-place position in the league standings.

Smith shot 9-of-13 from the floor, but where he made his presence most felt was at the free-throw line, where he buried 11-of-14 attempts. He also dished out four assists.

Saturday’s effort was Smith’s 14th of the slate in double figures.

With the win, PSC moved to 5-14 overall.

Smith wasn’t the only Pioneer to hit double digits in the scorebook.

Sophomore guard Rayshoun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) poured in a 16-point effort to go along with five rebounds and three steals.

Bruce has now tallied in double figures 15 times on the campaign.

Freshman forward Jalen Miller (Rich Central H.S.), (9 points, 7 rebounds) and sophomore guard kyle Carpenter (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.), (8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals) also made strong contributions.

Oakton led 37-29 at the break.

A free-throw by Bruce, on the heels of a free-throw by Miller, gave PSC a 57-56 advantage with 8:29 to go.

Oakton closed to within 67-65 with 1:47 remaining before Smith toed the charity stripe prior to knocking down a pair with 1:11 left to effectivley salt away the win.

The Pioneers will be in action next on Tuesday when they travel to Grayslake for a conference clash against Lake County (7:15 p.m.).

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No. 18 Parkland Drops PSC in Lopsided Affair [January 10, 2015]

Corey Rucker
Corey Rucker paced the Pioneers 
with an 11-point, four-assist effort.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. --- The Prairie State College men’s basketball team took the floor Saturday night without the services of one of its best players as starting point guard Rodney Smith was forced to watch the game from the bench due to a lower-body injury.

Unfortunately for PSC, NJCAA No. 18 Parkland was able to exploit this fact, downing the Pioneers 78-49 in a lopsided tilt at the Dodds Athletic Center in Champaign.

PSC sophomore Corey Rucker (Bremen H.S.) stepped up and turned in an admirable effort running the point in Smith’s absence, ordinarily a one-guard, Rucker led the Pioneers (4-12) with an 11-point, four-assist showing which included both a steal and block.

Sophomore guard Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) also played well, dropping in 10 points, thanks mostly in part to a 6-of-8 showing from the free-throw line. The 6-foot Bruce also pulled down eight rebounds.

Sophomore forward kyle Carpenter (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.), (9 points, 3, 3-pointers), freshman forward Capreist Gardner (Richards H.S.), (6 points, 6 rebounds) and freshman forward Jalen Miller (Rich Central H.S.), (6 points, 3 rebounds) also made contributions.

The Cobras, who won their tenth straight game Saturday, were paced by JaQuan Bryant’s 18 points.

Parkland raced out to a 45-27 advantage at halftime.

The Pioneers will now begin Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference play on Tuesday with a road date against McHenry in Crystal Lake (7:15 p.m.).

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Pioneers Fall to Triton on Road [December 30, 2014]

RIVER GROVE, Ill. --- The Prairie State College men’s basketball team saw its two-game winning streak fall by the wayside Tuesday following a 79-59 loss to Triton in River Grove.

With the setback, the Pioneers saw their overall record drop to 4-11 on the campaign.

Despite the loss, PSC did pick up several strong, overall efforts, led by sophomore point guard Rodney Smith’s (Thornwood H.S.) 18-point showing.

Smith wasn’t the only Pioneer to score in double figures either as standout freshman forward Jalen Miller (Rich Central H.S.) recorded another stellar outing, dropping in 16 points while pulling down eight rebounds. Sophomore forward Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) was solid as well, playing the contest’s entire 40 minutes while adding 12 tallies and nine rebounds.

Sophomore guard Corey Rucker (Bremen H.S.) added eight points and a pair of assists.

The Pioneers will see action next on Saturday when they travel to Champaign for a 4 p.m. road tilt against Parkland.

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Miller’s Monster Effort Hoists Pioneers to Second Straight Victory [December 22, 2014]

Prairie State College freshman forward Jalen Miller (Rich Central H.S.) didn’t play in his team’s first 12 games of the campaign.

He was activated for the first time this season on Saturday and to say that he's been making up for lost time ever since would be an understatement.

And a colossal one at that.

Miller’s great start to the slate continued in a big way Tuesday night as the 6-4, 181-pound front-court player delivered the biggest effort of his young collegiate career, dropping in 32 hard-fought points while ripping down 13 rebounds for his second double-double in as many games.

The most significant aspect of Miller’s great outing was the fact that it helped tow the Pioneers to an 86-75 victory over St. Clair County (Mich.) at the PSC Fieldhouse.

The win marked the Pioneers’ second straight and pushed their overall season mark to 4-10.

Miller’s scoring barrage was the first of 30 points or more by a Pioneer this season. He also posted a 20-point outing in Saturday’s 86-77 win over Malcolm X in Chicago.

In addition to his offensive output and hard work on the glass, Miller also blocked three shots and came away with a pair of steals.

Miller wasn’t the only Pioneer to put forth a stellar effort either as sophomore guard Corey Rucker (Bremen H.S.) delivered a career-high 18-points. Rucker, also playing in just his second game of the slate, pulled down nine rebounds and made off with three steals.

Sophomore point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.), (15 points, 5 assists) and sophomore guard Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.), (11 points, 8 rebounds) also made strong contributions.

The Pioneers didn’t exactly get off to a stellar start Tuesday, falling behind 11-0 from the outset.

PSC eventually fought back to tie the contest at 20, thanks to a layup by Bruce, which was made possible by an assist from Smith with 9:33 to go in the opening frame.

The Pioneers led 41-34 at the break and eventually constructed their largest lead of the evening at 54-41, following a powerful, two-handed flush by Miller, who reeled in a long pass by Smith with 14:35 remaining.

The Pioneers will be in action next on December 30 when they travel to River Grove for a road date with Triton.

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Pioneers Fall to Lincoln Land on Road [December 16, 2014]

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. --- Sophomores Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) and Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) both scored in double figures, but unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough as the Prairie State College men’s basketball team fell Saturday to Lincoln Land by a 73-47 final count.

Smith led PSC with a 14-point showing, courtesy of a 5-of-17 effort from the field. He also ripped down five rebounds and handed out five assists.

Bruce tallied 12 points while tearing down five rebounds and dishing out a trio of assists.

The Pioneers, who dressed just five players for the contest, also picked up strong efforts from sophomore guard Kyle Carpenter (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.), (9 points, 2 assists), freshman forward Jason Hines (Evergreen Park H.S.), (8 points, 3 rebounds, block) and freshman Nate Skrobot (Homeschooled), (4 points, 6 rebounds, block).

The Pioneers (2-10) fought hard throughout the contest’s opening 20 minutes and found themselves out in front of the Loggers, 34-30 at the break.

Unfortunately, things began to unravel for PSC post-intermission as Lincoln Land outscored the Pioneers 43-13 in the second half.

PSC will hit the hardwood again on Saturday when it faces Malcolm X in a 3 p.m. tipoff on Chicago’s West Side.

    _____________________________________________________________________________

 

Pioneers Compete Hard, but Fall to Kankakee at Home [December 9, 2014]

Prairie State College sophomore guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) and sophomore forward Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) each chipped in a determined 20-point effort, but it just wasn’t enough Tuesday evening as the Pioneers fell to NJCAA Region IV foe Kankakee.

With the loss, PSC’s eighth in a row, the Pioneers fell to an uncharacteristic 2-9 on the campaign.

Smith shot 7-of-15 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line. He also dished out seven assists and made off with one steal.

Bruce posted a 5-of-10 outing from the floor and 8-of-9 display from behind the charity stripe. He also knocked down a pair of three-pointers.

Fellow sophomore forward, Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.) chipped in 18 points, as did sophomore guard Kyle Carpenter (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.).

Prairie State trailed 40-37 at halftime and 63-51 with 11:06 to play before pulling to within a pair of points at 65-63 following a three-pointer by Carpenter and layup by Jeffries at the 8:28 mark.

After the Cavaliers had surged ahead, PSC tightened the contest up again, following a pair of free throws by Jeffries.

Unfortunately, Kankakee would pull ahead once more, and this time for good in the contest’s final two minutes.

The Pioneers will hit the floor next on Saturday when they travel to Lincolnland in Sprigfield for a 1 p.m. tipoff.

 

 

Illinois Valley Takes Down PSC in Road Tilt [November 26, 2014]

OGLESBY, Ill. --- Whenever a team losses the battle on the glass and is outrebounded by its opponent, it’s a safe assumption to say that team probably wasn’t victorious.

That is exactly what happened to the Prairie State College men’s basketball team Tuesday night following a 68-48 loss to Illinois Valley.

Prairie State was outrebounded 53-29.

The loss dropped PSC to 2-6 on the campaign.

The Pioneers were done in by Illinois Valley 6-foot-5, 245-pound forward Torrance Johnson, who tallied 30 points while ripping down 23 rebounds (15 offensive) in one of the strongest individual showing by a PSC opponent in recent memory.

Prairie State was pace by a pair of 11-point showings from sophomore point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) and sophomore forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.).

 

 

Cocroft’s Debut Not Enough as DuPage Tops Pioneers at Home [November 22, 2014]

Adrian Jeffries drops two points
FILE PHOTO BY NATHAN ALBERT:
Adrian Jeffries dropped in a season-
high 24 points Saturday evening.

Prairie State sophomore forward Alex Cocroft (Rich Central) delivered a solid all-around effort in his Prairie State College debut Saturday afternoon, but it wasn’t enough as NJCAA Region IV counterpart DuPage topped the Pioneers 68-53 in Chicago Heights.

Saturday’s setback drops the Pioneers to 2-5 on the campaign.

The 6-foot-2 Cocroft dropped in seven points and pulled down three rebounds in his first collegiate basketball game in two seasons.

PSC was led by a season-high 24-point effort from sophomore forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.). He also paced the Pioneers with a squad-high six rebounds.

Sophomore guard Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.), (11 points, 7 assists) and freshman forward Jason Hines (Evergreen Park H.S.), (11 points, 5 rebounds) also made strong contributions.

A layup from Jeffries and field goal by Hines gave PSC a short-lived 8-5 lead. By intermission, DuPage had built a 31-17 advantage.

PSC came within a point of equaling the Chaparrals’ second-half scoring after a 36-point showing in the second stanza.

PSC shot 21-of-45 from the field to DuPage’s 20-of-50. The Chaparrals knocked down 8-of-18 three-pointers to PSC’s 1-of-12.

The Pioneers will hit the floor next on Tuesday when they travel to Oglesby for a road date with Illinois Valley (7:30 p.m.).

 

 

Short-Handed Pioneers Fall to South Suburban at Home [November 18, 2014]

With starting sophomore point guard Rodney Smith sidelined with an upper-body injury, the Prairie State College men’s basketball team knew that it was in for a tough assignment heading into Tuesday night’s tilt against NJCAA Region IV arch rival South Suburban.

Unfortunately, they were right.

South Suburban used a 30-point showing from guard Lavell Boyd to down the Pioneers 91-65 at the PSC Fieldhouse on “Faculty/Staff Appreciation Night”.

The Pioneers got off to a rough start from the opening tip and were never quite able to recover, falling behind 11-2 from the outset.

With the setback, PSC dropped to 2-4 overall.

Despite the loss, the Pioneers did post four players in double figures as sophomore guard Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) set the pace with a 17-point effort.

Sophomore forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.) chipped in 14 points while sharing team-high rebounding honors with freshman forward Jason Hines (Evergreen Park H.S.) with nine caroms.

Sophomore shooting guard Kyle Carpenter (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.) posted his first twin-digit scoring outing of the campaign with an 11-point showing that including a 4-of-5 performance from the free-throw line.

Hines also recorded 11 points.

The Pioneers trailed 55-35 at halftime.

PSC will action again on Saturday when it hosts DuPage in a 3 p.m. tipoff.

 

Furious Comeback Effort Falls Just Short Against Olive-Harvey [November 13, 2014]

Rodney Smith dribbling basketball
FILE PHOTO BY CHARLES BEARD, JR.:
PSC sophomore point guard
Rodney Smith turned in a determined
effort Thursday night.

Down by 14 points with just over 13 minutes remaining in regulation, most teams would be less than enthusiastic in terms of launching a comeback attempt. The proverbial tent would be folded and those players would be ready for a good night’s rest.

The Prairie State College men’s basketball squad doesn’t fall under the category of “most teams’, however.

The Pioneers, on the wrong end of a lopsided score throughout much of their NJCAA Region IV contest against Olive-Harvey, picked themselves up by their collective boot straps and surged back against a tough Panthers team in Chicago Heights Thursday night.

Despite its efforts, however, PSC fell to its counterpart from Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood by an 82-76 final count at the PSC Fieldhouse.

With the setback, the Pioneers fell below the .500 mark for the second time in the young campaign and now own a 2-3 overall record.

PSC sophomore point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) and sophomore forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.) turned in a pair of enormously-energetic and determined outings.

Jeffries led Prairie State with a 23-point showing, just narrowly missing his first double-double of the slate, following a nine-rebound effort.

Smith was equally impressive, tallying 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor. The 6-foot Smith knocked down several big shots throughout the tilt, particularly in the second half, employing the use of his quick first step to slice his way to the basket.

He also chipped in a 6-of-11 effort from the free-throw line.

Smith made contributions away from the stat sheet as well, encouraging teammates and seemingly willing his squad back into the game.

Sophomore guard Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) delivered another solid game as well, dropping in 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field. He also pulled down five rebounds, dished out a trio of assists and made off with a pair of steals.

Freshman forward Jason Hines (Evergreen Park H.S.) chipped in an eight-point showing.

Olive-Harvey guard Quentin Ruff led all scorers with a 26-point performance.

The Panthers won the battle of the glass, out-rebounding the Pioneers by a 47-39 margin.

Olive-Harvey employed the help of the three-point shot to control the contest, knocking down 11-of-25 triples to PSC’s 0-for-8 showing.

Prairie State trailed 40-31 at the break and began to slowly chip away at the Panthers’ 57-43 advantage midway through the second period.

PSC used field goals by Smith, Jeffries and Bruce on consecutive possessions to blast into the Panthers’ lead.

Freshman guard Malik Epps (Crete-Monee H.S.) finally tied the tilt with a pair of free throws with 1:57 to play before the Panthers used a pair of jumpers and a free throw to seal up the triumph.

PSC will see action again on Tuesday when it hosts local foe South Suburban on “PSC Faculty/Staff Appreciation Night.”

 

Pioneers Fall to Joliet on “Veteran’s Night” [November 11, 2014]

Despite a game-high 22-point effort from sophomore forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.), the Prairie State College men’s basketball team was unable to upend NJCAA Region IV foe Joliet Tuesday evening at the PSC Fieldhouse.

The Pioneers fell to the Wolves 66-49 in a spirited contest.

With the setback, Prairie State’s record evened at 2-2 overall.

Prior to Tuesday night’s tilt, the PSC Athletic Department honored all Prairie State former and current employees who have , or are, currently serving in the U.S. military in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Jeffries delivered a 10-of-22 performance from the field and shared team-high rebounding honors with his brother, sophomore guard Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) with seven apiece.

Sophomore point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) turned in a nine-point showing in 40 minutes of action.

Bruce and freshman forward Jason Hines (Evergreen Park H.S.) each tallied six-point outings.

The Pioneers trailed just 29-23 at the break before the Wolves took over the contest in the second 20 minutes, outscoring PSC 37-26.

Joliet established a 20-point advantage at 62-42 with 3:59 to go.

The Pioneers will be in action next on Thursday when they host local rival South Suburban at the PSC Fieldhouse (7 p.m.).

 

Bruce’s Career-High 24 Highlights 51-Point Second Half as PSC Triumphs [November 6, 2014]

With two solid games already under his belt to start the 2014-15 season, Prairie State College sophomore guard Rayshaun Bruce (Thornton H.S.) was primed and ready to post a big effort Thursday in the Pioneers’ home-opener against Daley at the PSC Fieldhouse.

And that’s exactly what he did.

The 6-foot, 195-pound Bruce gave the home fans plenty to cheer for during a commanding 24-point, 10-rebound showing as PSC dropped visiting Daley 78-72 in front of a near-capacity crowd.

Bruce’s scoring efforts represented a career-high as he shot 6-of-18 from the field and 3-of-4 showing from the free-throw line.

Bruce shared game-high scoring honors with Daley’s Marquette Muhammad.

Bruce wasn’t the only Pioneer to turn in an outstanding effort as PSC posted four players in double figures.

Bruce’s sibling, sophomore forward Adrian Jeffries (Morgan Park H.S.), delivered a 16-point, seven-rebound evening while sophomore point guard Rodney Smith (Thornwood H.S.) contributed a 15-point, nine-assist showing.

Freshman forward Jason Hines (Evergreen Park H.S.) added 12 points and four rebounds.

The Pioneers (2-1) actually trailed 29-27 at the break before erupting for a 51-point second half.

PSC constructed its largest lead of the evening at 65-50 following a Smith layup with 6:05 to play.

The Pioneers will take the court next on Wednesday when they host Joliet on “Veteran’s Night” at the PSC Fieldhouse (7 p.m.).

 

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.)