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Charles Foster leads top-seeded VU's second half comeback in first game of NJCAA District Tournament

INA, Ill. - The Vincennes University Men's Basketball Team's opening game of the NJCAA District 16 Men's Basketball Tournament Thursday was a tale of two halves, allowing the No. 1 seed Trailblazers to climb out of a first half hole and top an upset-minded eighth-seeded Lewis & Clark, 69-60, at Rend Lake College in Ina, IL.
 
Sophomore guard Charles Foster scored 20 of his game-high 26 points in the second half to lead the comeback. Sophomore Donte' McGill finished with 10 points. Lewis & Clark guard Burak Eslik had 16 to lead L&C, which is also nicknamed the Trailblazers.
 
VU (31-0) fell behind in the first half because of 9-for-32 shooting, including 2-of-8 from the 3-point line, and committing 10 turnovers. All that translated into a 35-24 Lewis & Clark lead at halftime.
 
After intermission, the Trailblazers took better care of the ball and tightened up defensively so Lewis & Clark (11-18) could no longer easily back-cut for easy lay-ups and L&C cooled down from the perimeter. Led by Foster, VU began chipping away at the Lewis & Clark lead, but it wasn't easy. Just seconds into the second half, VU sophomore point guard Everett Clemons found sophomore forward A.J. Patty for a lay-up, but Lewis & Clark answered at the other end.
 
Then, with just over 14 minutes left to play, Clemons was whistled for his third foul and had to sit down. But VU held on and kept battling and fought its way back in front, 45-44, on a drive and bucket by sophomore forward Mychal Mulder near the 11:00 mark. But Eslik answered at the other end with a three-point play to put L&C back in front, 47-45. The game became a back-and-forth affair for the next several minutes, until the Trailblazers could gain control on the backboards and knock down some free throws to open up a double-digit lead.
 
With less than three minutes to go, freshman forward Keith Mack tipped in a missed VU shot to make it 63-53. The Trailblazers also led 65-54 in the closing minutes to hold on for the victory. With the win, the trailblazers will now face the winner of the Wabash Valley-Southwestern Illinois game that followed the VU-L&C contest. That game between VU and the WVC-SWIC winner will be at 6 p.m. (EST) Friday.

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