It was a game with 14 lead changes and nine ties, as both McPherson and Friends needed the victory to keep their chance of making the NAIA national tournament alive.
After 39 minutes of intense action, a last-second shot by Kasey Miller, Friday night’s hero, gave the Bulldogs another upset as they defeated the Falcons 81-80.
It was a close one in the first half in Wichita as the two squads were never more than a handful of points away from each other. The largest lead belonged to the Bulldogs who got ahead by six in the first few minutes, until a late shift occurred by Friends as they strung together a few baskets. The Falcons took their lead into halftime, going into the locker room up 36-34.
The game’s final period was a thriller as neither team was willing to give an inch in the last 20 minutes.
Friends was the aggressor in the opening part of half, pushing the tempo and controlling the game but they could never get ahead by more than a few.
McPherson would flip-flop the lead occasionally but never seemed to be in charge of the pace.
A mini-run by Mac pulled them to a one-point deficit with less than one minute remaining. A basket by Adam Bruner put the ‘Dogs up by one but a quick layup by FU gave the Falcons the lead with 17 seconds showing on the clock.
A hail-mary pass was tipped by a Falcon and found its way to Miller who put up a shot as time expired, the ball bounced twice on the rim, hit the back board then a couple more touches on the rim before falling through.
The ‘Dogs will face Sterling in the tournament championship game, which will be held tonight at Hartman Arena in Park City.
The men’s game tips at 6 p.m., with the women’s final to follow.