Brevard, N.C. - Josh Roper overcame late free throw shooting woes to convert a pair from the charity stripe with 1.5 seconds left in the overtime period and Jon Hathcock’s shot as time expired hit one of the Boshamer Gymnasium ceiling light fixtures as Brevard overcame a second half deficit to defeat the visiting Lenoir-Rhyne Bears on Saturday afternoon, 85-83.
Roper led all scorers with 31 points for the Tornados (7-3, 5-1 SAC), hitting nine of 15 shots from the field and 11 of 15 from the free throw line in recording his eighth career 30+ points game and third on the season. Josh Jordan recorded the first double-double of his career, scoring 12 points and pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds, and Gaither Hendrix added 17 points and Drew Schauss poured in 15 as the Tornados won their third consecutive SAC game.
Jeff Thomas led the Bears (2-11, 1-4 SAC) with 27 points, hitting five three-pointers, including one in overtime which tied the score up at 79, while Allan Jones recorded the double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Hathcock added 13 points and three assists off the bench for Coach Lentz, while Kevin Davis scored 10 points, including five straight at the end of the second half to send the game into overtime.
Nine lead changes and two ties highlighted a first half which saw its largest lead at nine points as Jordan pulled down an offensive rebound and put it back up to put the Tornados up 25-16 with 7:38 on the clock. A Davis layup cut the lead back to seven, but Ryson Felder hit a pair of free throws at the 6:22 mark to put the lead back at nine at 27-18.
Lenoir-Rhyne chipped at the lead cutting it back to one on a 10-1 run sparked by five points from Bryce Harper, bringing the score back to 29-28 with 3:27 to play as Jones went in for the layup. The Bears took the lead at 32-31 after a jumper by Hathcock off the right elbow, but Roper connected on the final four points of the first half on a pair of jumpers to put Brevard up 35-32 at the half.
The Tornados advanced their lead to eight points early in the second half as Jordan pulled down another offensive rebound and put it in, giving Brevard the 43-35 lead with 17:22 left in the half. However, the Bears kept the game close, tying it up at 59 apiece on a free throw by Jones and taking their first lead of the second half as Thomas drained a free throw with 7:38 to play.
Lenoir-Rhyne held the Tornados scoreless for nearly three minutes in building a 67-59 lead off a 12-0 run, capped by another Hathcock jumper from the right elbow. Brevard would rally to knot the game back up at 70 as Jordan scored in the paint off the assist from Schauss with 3:28 to play and Brevard would go up by three off a back-door cut and layup by Schauss off the assist from Jordan, but Davis hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game up at 74.
Hendrix and Davis would exchange layups to tie the game up at 76, before an unusual series of events took place at the end of the second half.
A three-pointer by BC’s Vincent Dombrowski hit the rim and bounced right, where it was pulled down by Thomas as time expired. However, as Thomas was collecting the ball, the Bears called a timeout and the officials placed 0.3 seconds back on the game clock and allowed Lenoir-Rhyne to inbound the ball. Nathaniel Shaw’s full-court pass hit one of the light fixtures extending down from the Boshamer Gymnasium ceiling and was ruled out of play, so the Tornados received the ball with 0.3 seconds on the clock, underneath the L-R basket. The play went for naught as the entry pass to Roper was tipped and neither team could collect it as time expired.
In the overtime period, the Tornados struck first as Roper, after missing three consecutive free throws, hit the second half of a pair with 3:35 left on the clock to put Brevard up 77-76. Hendrix would drive in for a layup off the offensive rebound on the next BC possession, but Thomas equalized the score at 79 with a three-pointer from the top of the key.
The Bears tied the score up two more times in the second half as Thomas hit a jumper to put it at 81 and Hathcock hit a pair of free throws with five seconds left in the period to tie it up at 83, but Lenoir-Rhyne was unable to attain the lead in the extra period as Roper collected the inbounds pass and was tripped with 1.5 seconds left on the clock by Shaw. Roper connected on the first free throw and attempted to miss the second, but it hit the square and rattled in to put Brevard up 85-83 and Hathcock’s final attempt court hit the light as time expired and the Tornados escaped the Bears in Boshamer.
Brevard takes to the road next week, playing their next two conference games at Lincoln Memorial and Wingate. Tipoff for the Brevard-LMU game on Wednesday, January 19th, is set for 8 p.m. at Tex Turner Arena in Harrogate, Tenn.