Tillman, Franklin Lift CMU Over Benedictine
ATCHISON, KS -- Melvin Tillman found the bottom of the net for a game-winning bucket with 1.3 seconds left to lift Central Methodist to a 53-51 victory at Benedictine on Saturday inside Ralph Nolan Gymnasium. Eric Franklin, the hero of last Saturday's win, scored 18 of his game-high 20 points in the first half. Franklin's 20 points also set a new personal season-high.
"I had been struggling in the game and knew they would play Eric tight," Tillman said. "They started backing up, and I just hit the shot. We pulled through at the end and kept our composure."
Franklin nailed back-to-back three-pointers, the last coming with 8:50 on the clock, to keep the Eagles up 16-14. He banked in a trey from the wing at the 6:07 mark of the first period to increase his team's lead to three points, 21-18.
Franklin scored 16 of Central Methodist's first 21 points. Those 16 points came in the first 14 minutes of the game, and Benedictine had 18 during the same stretch. A Franklin running bank shot with 30 seconds on the clock was the final bucket of the first half, and Central Methodist led 29-26 at intermission. Franklin was 7-of-9 in the first half from the field, including 4-of-5 from distance.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair. Derek Kitch slipped in behind the Raven defense to putback a Franklin miss, giving the Eagles a 44-42 upper hand with 6:24 left in the game.
With the Ravens leading 45-44 with just under four minutes remaining, a Brett Fisher made three-pointer was waived off due to a shotclock violation. The refs reviewed the play and upheld the call, leading to an Evan Lavery trey on the next possession to give Central Methodist a two-point edge.
Benedictine answered, taking a 51-49 upper hand with two minutes on the clock. Central Methodist's Alex Barner countered with a drive to the hoop, tying the contest with 54 seconds left.
On the Ravens next trip down the court, Fisher turned over the ball, throwing it out of bounds, with 19.7 seconds remaining to set up Tillman's heroics. On an isolation play, Tillman hit the game-winning bucket from the top of the key. A halfcourt heave on Benedictine's inbounds attempt was stolen to preserve Central Methodist's two-point victory.
Kitch tallied 10 points and five rebounds. Tillman finished with seven. Black and Barner had four apiece. Black also had eight rebounds. Fisher ended the game with a team-high 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He was 5-of-7 from three-point range. Johnson had nine points.
Central Methodist will host Culver-Stockton for Senior Night on Thursday, February 23. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.