Gatkuoth helps South Plains reach NJCAA Elite Eight
Mareng Gatkuoth of Anchorage did his part to help the South Plains College men’s basketball team reach the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Tournament.
Fifth-seeded South Plains of Texas knocked off No. 21 seed South Georgia State College 91-80 in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Gatkuoth came off the bench to score five points in 11 minutes. He made 2-of-3 field goals, including a 3-pointer.
He gave South Plains a 45-36 lead with 6:36 left in the first half.
South Plains (19-2) will face No. 13 seed Ranger College on Thursday in an all-Texas showdown.
The winner advances to Friday’s final four.
Gatkuoth, of ACS fame, is averaging 5.1 points per game on a stacked South Plains squad that was ranked No. 1 earlier this season and sports a lineup loaded with players headed to major NCAA D1 programs.
South Plains is a JC powerhouse with three NJCAA national championships in 2008, 2012 and 2018.
Competing for the spotlight with so many stars can be difficult, but the 6-foot-5 Gatkuoth has managed to stand out.
He is shooting 45 percent from the floor and reached double figures three times in 19 games, highlighted by his season-high 19 points at Clarendon College, where he went 5-of-9 from 3-point land.
But arguably his best game came against No. 3 Odessa when he pumped in 16 points to propel South Plains to 96-93 win.