Spring Arbor falls in epic 3OT thriller

by | Feb 23, 2019 | Headlines, RRSN News | 0 comments

SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – Spring Arbor University’s quest for a Crossroads League Tournament championship came to an end on Saturday after suffering a hard-fought 89-87 loss in the tournament semifinals to No. 11 Mount Vernon Nazarene University in an epic triple overtime battle inside the McDonald Athletic Center.

Spring Arbor trailed by eight, 89-81, with 2:24 remaining in the third overtime period, but rallied back behind back-to-back 3-pointers from Tom Hamilton, who also surpassed 1,000 career points on the afternoon. Trailing by two in the final seconds, the Cougars had one last chance, but Luke Barber‘s potential game-winning three at the buzzer came up empty.

Despite the loss, the season is not over for No. 5 ranked Spring Arbor. The Cougars have already secured a spot in the 2019 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship, which is set to take place from Mar. 6-12 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Head coach Ryan Cottingham and his squad will learn their first round opponent during a live bracket reveal on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. ET.

 

THE BASICS

FINAL SCORE: No. 5 Spring Arbor 87, No. 11 Mount Vernon Nazarene 89

LOCATION: McDonald Athletic Center | Spring Arbor, Mich.

RECORDS: Spring Arbor 25-7, Mount Vernon Nazarene 26-6

 

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • It was a battle between two of the top teams in the country in the Crossroads League Tournament Semifinals on Saturday. Spring Arbor, the tournament’s No. 1 seed, and fourth-seeded MVNU traded the lead 18 times throughout the contest and neither side led by more than five points until the final 2:24 of the third overtime.
  • In the final two minutes of the second half, Mount Vernon Nazarene held a four point lead, 65-61, but Spring Arbor closed out regulation on an 8-4 run, including a game-tying 3-pointer by Hamilton with 38 seconds left on the clock.
  • The Cougars tallied the first five points of overtime, but were held scoreless over the final 2:33 of the period. MVNU’s Jacob Paul hit a corner three with 19 seconds remaining to tie the score and force a second OT.
  • Just like in the first overtime, SAU opened the second extra period with five straight points – all five from Paul Marandet. But, the Cougars were shutout over the next 3:49 while MVNU was able to rally back to even the score.
  • MVNU grabbed its largest lead of the afternoon early in the third overtime after opening the stanza on a 10-2 run. The Cougars fought back and got within two after back-to-back 3-pointers by Hamilton. SAU had one last chance after making a big defensive stop, forcing a MVNU turnover in the final seconds, but a 3-point attempt from Barber at the buzzer bounced off the iron.

 

FOR SPRING ARBOR

  • Hamilton scored a season-high 21 points, including 18 in the second half and overtime periods, while also adding six assists. He was 7-for-14 from the floor and 4-for-6 from behind the 3-point line. Hamilton became the 46th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points.
  • Four other Cougars scored in double figures, including Payton DeWildt, who matched his season-high with 16 points. Marandet also record 16 points, along with four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Brandon Durnell and Jeff Beckman added 12 points apiece while Beckman also hauled in 10 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season.
  • Spring Arbor shot 42 percent (30-for-72) from the field and 39 percent (9-for-23) from 3-point range. The Cougars were also 18-for-23 from the free throw line.

 

FOR MOUNT VERNON NAZARENE

  • Jevon Knox had 25 points and six assists to lead Mount Vernon Nazarene. Brett Vipperman and Austin Jones finished with 22 and 20 points, respectively.
  • MVNU made 48 percent (34-for-71) of its shots and made 11-of-26 shot attempts from long range.

 

UP NEXT

Spring Arbor has already secured a spot in the 2019 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship, which is set to take place from Mar. 6-12 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Cougars will learn their first round opponent during a live bracket reveal on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. ET.

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