VU Trailblazers 4th in the country at National Championship Tournament
HUTCHINSON, Kan. – The Vincennes University Men’s Basketball Team dropped a 100-93 double-overtime decision to Spartanburg Methodist College Saturday in a game deciding the third and fourth place finishers in the 2013 NJCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship Tournament in Hutchinson, KS.
The Trailblazers had a three-point lead with only seconds left but a 3-pointer that banked in at the end of regulation for SMC sent to the game into the first extra five-minute period.
Sophomore forwards Darius Carter and Deshawn Delaney both had 23 points to lead VU (33-4) in the final game of the season. VU also got 18 from sophomore guard Jerrod Gaston and 15 from sophomore guard Monte Burney. Carter and Delaney were named to the All-Tournament Team following the championship game in which Central Florida topped Northwest Florida State.
VU was victimized in this one by a huge free throw discrepancy (SMC was 33-for-45 at the stripe because VU was whistled for 28 personal fouls, and the Trailblazers were 19-for-27) and an inability to stop the Pioneers from getting to the rim at crucial times.
The Trailblazers led throughout much of the game, including holding a 41-34 advantage at the half, but VU had to scratch and claw to hold onto the lead after an 11-4 run by SMC to open the second half cut the Trailblazer lead to 45-42 with 15:15 to go in regulation. Delaney tipped in a miss to halt the Pioneers’ scoring streak.
VU was still clinging to a lead when freshman Devin Foster hit a trey from the corner to help VU open it up a little at 68-62 with 3:23 to play. But SMC sliced the lead again with five unanswered points to make it 68-67 VU at the 2:48 mark.
A VU turnover allowed Spartanburg Methodist to score in transition and take the lead 71-69 just over a minute later. The Trailblazers had some hope of possibly pulling away when Gaston knocked down a trey for a 72-71 VU lead with less than a minute to play. It temporarily looked even brighter for the Trailblazers when a SMC turnover gave VU the ball again with 50 seconds left.
But a VU turnover gave SMC possession again. A 3-point attempt by Daquan Jeffries of SMC bounced high and over the backboard to give VU the ball again and Carter was fouled to send him to the line with 11.3 left. Carter made both to stake the Trailblazers to a 74-71 lead and SMC called timeout. After the timeout, Nesbitt heaved a trey from the top of the key and the shot banked in to tie it at 74-all and send the game to the first overtime.
Carter sank two free throws and VU swung back in the lead at 78-77 with 3:19 to play in overtime. Delaney yanked down an offensive board and put it back, and a short time later, Gaston hit a free throw for the Trailblazers to extend the lead to 81-77 VU with just over 2:00 to go. But SMC wouldn’t quit. The Pioneers’ Tobias Pinson drained a trey to pull SMC within 81-80 and 1:30 remained on the clock.
With 2.2 seconds left in the overtime, the Pioneers’ Kelsey Terry hit one of two at the strip to knot up yet again at 85-all. That’s where the score stood at the horn, requiring the second overtime.
VU trailed 90-88 late in the second overtime. After a VU turnover, Nesbitt went back to the line yet again for the Pioneers and made both. At that point, it was 92-88 SMC with less than 2:00 to go. Burney tightened it up some when he tipped in his own miss near the 1:00 mark, but SMC canned four more free throws and made two more shots from the floor to put it out of reach for the Trailblazers.