By Mitch Blankespoor
TAMPA, Fla. – The Kalamazoo College men's basketball team fell 81-80 in double overtime of the Tampa Bay Classic to host DePauw University (Ind.) Monday, Dec. 30.
Senior guard Mark Ghafari broke two Kalamazoo College men's basketball program records in the game. The Grosse Pointe Woods nailed 23 of 24 free throws, shattering the single game record of 18 set by Gordon Rowan in 1961. Ghafari also hit his last 18 free throws, five better than Jeremy Cole's 13 straight in 1993.
Kalamazoo started the game quickly. Senior guard Grant Carey scored five of Kalamazoo's first seven points en route to a 7-0 Hornet lead.
The Tigers answered with a 10-2 run in just over three minutes to give DePauw a 10-9 lead. The Tigers would lead by as many as 11, but took a six point lead (29-23) into halftime.
With the DePauw lead around 10 points for the early portions of the second half, Kalamazoo began to chip away. The Hornets cut the Tiger lead to a single point (45-44) on a jumper from freshman center Josh Miller with 8:51 to play in regulation.
DePauw had the answer going on a quick 8-1 run in just 1:35.
Kalamazoo took its first lead of the second half when Ghafari connected on a triple with 5:10 remaining. Kalamazoo led the lead all the way to the final seconds when Michael Wilkison hit the tying three pointer with five seconds to play.
Tied at 67, over time ensued. The Tigers took a 75-69 lead with 1:58 to play, and looked to close out the game. Just as DePauw did at the end of regulation, Kalamazoo did in the first overtime. Junior forward Adam Peters connected on a jumper with ten seconds to play in overtime to tie the game again at 76. A last second heave from DePauw failed.
In the second overtime, Kalamazoo would lead by four points when Ghafari hit two free throws with 2:55 remaining. After a layup and free throw from DePauw, K led 80-79 with the clock reading 1:27.
Luke Lattner gave DePauw an 81-80 lead with under a minute to play. Kalamazoo had one final chance. A jumper from Ghafari missed target, and Kalamazoo left Tampa with a 1-1 record.
Mark Ghafari finished the day with 38 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Peters finished with 12 points and four rebounds.
As a team, Kalamazoo shot a .357 clip from the field but made up the difference on the free throw line, shooting 34-43 for the game.
The Hornets slip to 5-5 on the season and will return to action Jan. 4. Kalamazoo travels to Fort Wayne, Ind. for a 2:00 p.m. game against Division II foe IPFW.