Gingerich triple forces overtime in return to home floor
GOSHEN, Ind. — Colton Noel scored 12 points in the first half and Eli Gingerich sank the game-tying 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds left in regulation Wednesday night, but the University of Saint Francis of Illinois topped Goshen College 87-83 in overtime men’s basketball action at Gunden Gymnasium.
Demarkus Stuckey scored 25 points for the Maple Leafs, leading all scorers on 10-of-21 shooting with four 3-pointers. Noel finished with a career-high 18 points and both players pulled down 6 rebounds. Gingerich also set a new career high with 7 assists.
Cole Micek scored 21 points off the bench for Saint Francis (2-0), which also got 18 from Jorden Thornton. The Fighting Saints led 36-35 at halftime.
Goshen (1-5) dominated the glass, grabbing 40 rebounds while conceding 25, behind a game-high 7 caroms to Alhassan Barrie. Ten Maple Leafs — every player that saw at least 11 minutes of action — pulled down at least 2 boards.
The Leafs found their shooting strokes early, going up 5-0 in the first two minutes and 17-9 in the first six minutes behind 8 points from Noel. Stuckey hit three of the team’s last five baskets of the first half, but the Saints had used an 11-2 run to take the lead in the interim.
The teams finished the half with nearly identical shooting figures: USF went 14-of-29 (48.2 percent) and Goshen 15-of-32 (46.8 percent). The Saints distinguished themselves with 6-of-12 shooting from long range, but the Maple Leafs made up for it with the 13 extra possessions from their rebounding advantage.
Gingerich knocked down 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions early in the second half, re-opening a 5-point lead at 43-38 after less than two minutes. The margin oscillated between two points and seven until Micek tied things at 58 with 7:07 left.
Thornton’s 3-point play gave the Saints a 68-66 lead at the 2:24 mark and Terrion Howard went 4-for-4 at the foul line in the next 90 seconds to keep USF in front, leading 72-69 with the game clock showing 1:03.
Goshen got the ball back with 12.4 seconds remaining after a shot-clock violation against USF. Three passes later, Brandon Watkins found an open Gingerich on the left wing and the junior swished in his 12th, 13th and 14th points of the night.
Each team scored a field goal and two sets of free throws in the first 3 minutes of overtime before the Saints took an 84-77 lead in the final minute. Stuckey got Goshen back within four points with 24 seconds left before Austin Branagan deflected the inbound pass and Stuckey drained another triple with 16 seconds left.
The Maple Leafs still had to foul, trailing 84-83, and that whistle came with 6.7 seconds remaining. Micek sank one of two foul shots, but an offensive foul ended GC’s last possession before the team could get a shot off. USF finished off the scoring with two more free throws.
Up Next: Goshen continues its three-game homestand on Saturday with a 3 p.m. tip-off against Indiana University Northwest. That contest is the opener of a doubleheader: the GC women square off with Ohio Christian at 5.