Men's basketball team wins N4C Championship

The scenario was simple for the Triton College men's basketball team entering its regular season finale on Feb. 22 vs. Wright College at the Robert M. Collins Center gymnasium. A win and the Trojans were outright North Central Community College Conference (N4C) champions. And win is what Triton did, as the Trojans built an early cushion and maintained the lead throughout the contest in a 79-70 win over the Rams.

For Triton, it was the first N4C crown since the 2011-12 campaign and the fifth conference championship in head coach Steve Christiansen's 10-year tenure. The Trojans finished the regular season 22-8 and were 11-3 in the N4C - one game ahead of Rock Valley and Joliet who ended up tied for second at 10-4.

Sophomore transfer Chad McDowell (Louisville, Ky.) led Triton in the victory over Wright with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Six-foot-9 center Donovan Smith (Richards) tallied 19 points along with eight rebounds and four blocks. Nick Norton (Downers Grove North) added 12 points and seven assists. Darryl Howell (Peoria Manuel) also poured in 12 points with seven rebounds for the Trojans who shot an efficient 53 percent from the field (28-53).

Triton will begin its quest for the Region IV title this Thursday at 7 p.m. as they host Waubonsee Community College in a Region IV Quarterfinal. The Trojans are the #4 seed in District A, and with the new playoff format, it drew the Chiefs (14-15) who are the #5 seed out of District B which consists of schools from the Skyway Conference.

The playoff game will mark the first meeting between the schools since 2008.

"We are very pleased with the perseverance of our young team over the course of the season," Christiansen said. "Our ability to learn quickly from setbacks has enabled us to achieve one of our main goals, and that is winning the N4C conference championship. We are very excited to be playing our best basketball as we head into regional play."

The winner of Thursday's game will advance to play a Region IV semifinal game on Sunday, March 2 at 6 p.m. at Illinois Valley Community College in Olgesby to face either Morton, Illinois Valley or Wright.

For more information on Triton College Athletics, visit www.triton.edu/athletics or call Athletic Director Harry McGinnis at (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3784.