McPherson College’s men have these end-of-the-game basketball situations down pat so far this season.
For the second time in five days, the Bulldogs made a miraculous play in the closing seconds, as they escaped with an 80-78 victory over upset-minded Haskell in the final night of the McPherson College Classic.
With 5.9 seconds left and the teams tied at 78-all, Mac’s Aaron Jackson streaked the length of the court, drew the defense to him, and dumped the ball off to Mason Hewitt, who had time for a pump fake before laying it in just before the red lights on the basket went off.
The Bulldogs are now 6-2 heading into a road tournament this weekend at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, with games Saturday and Sunday.
On Tuesday, Mac’s Aaron Frazier had jetted the length of the court and was fouled at the buzzer against Central Christian College, and his free throw forced overtime, a game the Bulldogs would go on to win.
“We tried to run the same play that we ran at Central Christian,” explained Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber. “Aaron Frazier was covered. I was glad we got the ball to Aaron Jackson. We had a little more time tonight than we did at Central and fortunately we did a nice job of executing.”
Hewitt was left with a point-blank layup after the drive-and-dish from Jackson.
“That was a great play by Mason to keep his composure, gather himself and not rush the shot,” Swartzendruber said.
The Bulldogs seemingly had the game in hand, up 63-48 with 10 minutes to go. But Marcellous Hill had an out-of-body experience in the second half, scoring 26 of his 36 points to bring Haskell back, as the Indians even took a three-point lead with 1:54 left as they unfurled a 9-0 run.
“I thought the last 10 minutes we looked like we were fatigued,” Swartzendruber said. “This week at McPherson College there have been a lot of distractions. The football game has been huge and it’s been great. Academic and other things were going on, which were all positive for the college. Last night we came out and played with tremendous energy, but tonight I thought we got tired.”
Jackson and Frazier led the Bulldogs with 18 points apiece, while Hewitt finished with 14. Trey Osborne scored 11 and Duelle Gore had 10 to back Hill’s explosion.
Mac (80) -- Jackson 5 5-6 18; Frazier 7 3-5 18; Miller 1 1-2 4; Severs 2 3-4 7; Shivers 1 0-3 2; Reinhardt 1 3-6 5; Woods 1 2-4 4; Crawford 1 1-2 4; Bruner 1 2-2 4; Hewitt 6 2-2 14. Totals -- 26 22-36 80. 3-pointers -- Jackson 3, Frazier 1, Miller 1, Crawford 1.
Haskell (78) -- Erving 3 2-2 9; Gore 4 2-3 10; Hill 11 11-13 36; Thompson 1 0-0 2; Osborne 4 0-0 11; Garrick 2 4-4 8; Whiteshield 1 0-0 2; Wilkett 0 0-2 0. Totals -- 26 19-24 78. 3-pointers -- Hill 3, Osborne 3, Erving 1.