GEORGETOWN, Texas - Southwestern's men's basketball team put together a gutsy performance, battling back from seven down late in the second half to defeat Hendrix 79-76 in overtime.
Southwestern controlled the tip and Demetrice Spearman got the Pirates off to a great start with a deep three in their first possession. Hendrix responded with a run to break out to an eight point lead seven minutes into the game.
The Pirates chipped away and Spearman's floater gave SU the lead, 19-18, with just under nine minutes to go in the half. With renewed vigor Southwestern turned up the rebounding on both ends and were up by nine with 1:34 to play, but the Warriors drained two three's and a layup as the closing buzzer sounded to pull Hendrix within one, 33-32, at halftime.
As the second half got underway the intensity picked up and the game turned physical as the lead changed hands numerous times through the middle part of the second half. Logan Hurley's three tied the game once again, 48-48 with 10:40 to go on the clock but Hendrix regained the lead with a pair of free throws from Ammon Martin.
Hendrix pushed their lead to seven, 66-59 with just over three minutes to play, their largest lead of the second half.
Down five with the clock ticking closer to zero the Pirates took up a full court press and forced a turnover immediately. Spearman and Chase Kocher cornered Martin and stole the ball, finding Michael Cantu for a quick bucket. Hendrix tried again, taking the ball out under SU's basket and once again the duo of Spearman and Kocher cornered the Warriors and forced a jump ball to give possession back to the Pirates. On the ensuing out of bounds play Daniel Mataya had a great look from the top of the key that was just off the mark, but Cantu was there for the putback to bring Southwestern within one, 66-65 with just 1:37 to play.
Defense once again was the difference maker as Cantu picked Martin's pocket and fed Hurley on the breakaway who nailed the 15-foot jumper to hand the Pirates a 67-66 lead with just over one minute to play. The teams traded free throw attempts but the Warriors converted on 2-2 while SU went 0-2 to regain the lead, 68-67 with just 31 seconds remaining.
Cantu drove the lane hard as he brought the ball down the court but couldn't convert on the layup. Chris Goodman was fouled after the defensive rebound by Martin and converted on one of two free throws with 18 seconds left to give the Warriors a two point lead, 69-68. James Davenport gathered the rebound off the miss and Cantu took the ball the length of the court and was fouled. With ice coursing through his veins, Cantu calmly hit both to even the score 69-69 with eight ticks left.
Southwestern played fantastic full court defense, nearly forcing a turnover at half-court as the final buzzer sounded, sending the game into overtime.
The Pirates won the tip and scored on their first two offensive possessions, but Hendrix came right back to tie the game and eventually take the lead from the free throw line. Hurley hit Cantu streaking to the basket to tie the game at 75 with 2:07 on the clock. Spearman stole the ball right out of Goodman's hands at half-court and after Cantu ran the ball down he called the timeout to maintain possession.
Hurley hit a big three after the time out to put SU up three, 78-75 and Hendrix converted on just one of two from the free throw line to give the Pirates a two point cushion. A costly turnover by Southwestern gave the ball back to the Warriors with 32 seconds to play.
Hendrix called their final timeout to set up their plan of attack. Southwestern's tough defense once again kept the Warriors from running their play and as they attempted to throw the ball in to the top of the key. HC overthrew their player and Cantu ran down the ball and was fouled with 10 seconds left. Cantu stepped to the line and just missed the first but sank the second to give SU a three-point lead, 79-76.
The Warriors quickly inbounded the ball and drove down court. Jaren Riley took the first look from three and was off the mark. Martin gathered the rebound and took one dribble behind the three point line, but his shot was short as the Pirates took the victory.
Hurley led all scorers with 20 points while Cantu added 14 and Spearman 11 as SU shot 38% from the field for the game. The difference maker was the Pirates forcing Hendrix into 16 turnovers with 14 Pirate steals while committing just six turnovers themselves for the game.
Southwestern, now 3-20 on the year and 3-11 in the SCAC, head to Austin College to start their final road trip of the season.