Posted: Feb 17, 2013 11:10 AM
FAYETTE, MO - Central Methodist's Alex Barner hit a game-tying three as time expired in regulation, and Elliott Black poured in a career-high 34 as the Eagles pulled out a 76-72 overtime thriller against Benedictine (Kan.) for their third straight win in Heart of America Athletic Conference men's basketball action.
Saturday's win in Puckett Fieldhouse was the second straight 76-72 win for Central Methodist (17-11, 10-6 HAAC), which sits alone in fourth place in the league standings after knocking off the Ravens (17-10, 9-7 HAAC). Saturday's triumph was the first home win for the Green and Black over Benedictine in the last three tries and the third straight game a last-second shot in regulation figured into the outcome.
Both teams struggled early from the field, as the game remained scoreless for the first 3:10 before the Ravens rattled off five straight.
A Robert Mason trey at the 11:35 mark triggered a 9-0 run for the Eagles, who built an 18-12 edge following Derek Kitch's only bucket of the game. Benedictine's Charlie Wallrapp later tied the game at 21 with a short jumper before Central Methodist built another five-point lead at the 1:24 mark following a Black fade-away in the lane.
John Harris, Jr., the hero for Benedictine in the first matchup in Atchison, Kan., this season, made one of two free throws with 0.5 seconds left in the first half, but the Green and Black maintained a 29-25 upper hand at the break.
Black came out of the locker room and dominated the second half, scoring six straight points of his 24 in the final 20 minutes. Eric Franklin then pumped in three of his 11 points with a made trey to give Central Methodist its first double-digit cushion, 38-27, of the afternoon at the 13:25 mark of the second half.
The Ravens responded with a 15-4 run to tie the game following nine straight points by Steve O'Brien, but Black countered with another six straight points to make the score 48-42 with 7:35 to play in regulation.
Benedictine did not hold a lead in the second half until the 3:22 mark when Jonathan Anaekwe's seven-foot jumper rattled home, giving the visitors a 51-50 edge. The next 2:47 saw four lead changes before Tillman converted two free throws to tie the game at 56.
Central Methodist and Benedictine combined to go 9-of-10 from the free throw line down the stretch, with the one miss coming from the Eagles, setting up a three-point lead by the Ravens, 62-59, with 17 seconds on the clock.
After a Central Methodist timeout, Tillman took the ball down the court and used a Black pick to look for a game-tying attempt from the top of the key. However, a Wallrapp and Anaekwe double-team left Barner standing alone in the corner, and the Fort Scott, Kan., product hit his biggest shot of the season to send the game into overtime.
O'Brien opened the scoring in the extra period with a two-pointer in the paint, but Tillman canned a bucket from distance to give Central Methodist the upper hand for good. Michael Banks, Jr. made two free throws with 11 seconds left in the game to give Central Methodist its largest lead of overtime, 75-70.
A Harris, Jr. layup six seconds later brought the Ravens within one possession, but Black stepped to the line and converted the front side of a double bonus with four seconds remaining to make the difference four points.
Black finished 14-of-19 from the field and 6-of-9 from the charity stripe. Tillman had 11 points and a game-high six assists for the Eagles, who shot 48.2 percent (27-of-56) overall.
Barner was a beast on both ends of the court for the Green and Black, contributing nine points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Wallrapp and O'Brien tallied 18 points apiece in the losing effort. Harris, Jr. added 15. Anaekwe had 12.
Central Methodist travels to No. 23 Culver-Stockton (Mo.) on Thursday, Feb. 21. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. CT.