Owls Fall to Lindenwood-Belleville in Overtime
FULTON, MO -- The William Woods University men's basketball team (3-6) survived a last-second shot in regulation but couldn't pick up the win in extra time, falling 70-65 to Lindenwood University-Belleville (9-2) in the Second Annual Arris' Pizza and Pub Classic. Seth Thomas led four Owls in double figures on the night with 15 points, but it wouldn't be enough.
The Owls got off to a very rough start as Lindenwood-Belleville opened up a 7-0 lead. Thomas hit a jumper with 17:17 left to try to break the Lynx run, but an immediate response from Todd Starks put the visitors up 10-2.
A make from Thomas followed by back-to-back treys from Logan Decker - both assisted by Demarius Sumrell - pulled William Woods immediately back into the game. The eight-point spurt knotted the game at 24-24 with 4:55 to go in the first half.
The teams traded the lead six times down the stretch, with Lindenwood-Belleville getting a buzzer-beating second chance shot to take a 33-32 lead into the locker room.
After giving up the opening bucket of the second half off a turnover, William Woods answered with a D.J. Hoskins jumper, then got a steal from Decker to take the lead on a runner in the lane from Sumrell. Hoskins hit a pair of free throws with 17:27 on the clock to stretch the WWU lead to 38-35, but an 11-2 run by LU-B put the Owls in a six-point hole with just over 15 minutes left.
The Owls were able to nibble back, retaking the lead with less than a minute to play. After a jumper from Sumrell was blocked by Matt Sturdivant, Thomas picked up the rebound and dropped in a bucket to give WWU the 57-56 edge.
After Starks hit a jumper at the other end, the Owls weren't able to find the long-range shot and were forced to foul. Starks rattled home both free throws, but William Woods was able to find some separation in transition, with Decker burying a three from the left wing to tie the game at 60-60.
Sturdivant wasn't able to connect on the last chance shot for Lindenwood-Belleville, but the visitors were able to pull away in the overtime period.
The Owls finished the game hitting at a .328 clip, fading somewhat from a strong first-half .329 effort. Lindenwood-Belleville also trailed off a bit in the second half, cooling from a .444 clip to finish at a .377 pace. The Lynx were far from solid from behind the arc, however, mustering just a .217 mark to a .320 pace for WWU. The Owls won the rebounding battle on the night, buoyed by a 16-8 edge on the offensive glass to finish with a 48-38 overall margin.
In addition to Thomas's 15, Decker chipped in 12 points for the Owls with Hoskins and Sumrell each adding 10. Starks led all scorers on the night with 31 points, shooting 14-of-16 from the free throw line. Sturdivant added 13 for the visitors, with Steve Roper knocking home 12.
Columbia College will take on Lindenwood University-Belleville at 4 p.m. on Saturday, with William Woods closing out the tournament against Mid-Continent University at approximately 6 p.m. An all-tournament team will be named following the conclusion of Saturday's games.