Barons Pull Out OT Thriller Over Medaille

More news about: Franciscan (Ohio)

STEUBENVILLE – The Medaille Mavericks tied the game with just three seconds left in regulation, but the Franciscan men's basketball team dug down deep and played a gritty overtime period to come away with a 72-69 win over Medaille on Kuzma Community Day, Saturday afternoon.
For just the second time in program history, the Barons defeated Medaille and improved to 9-9 on the year and 5-6 in the AMCC while the Mavericks slipped to 9-9 as well and 7-4 in the conference.
"Tonight, was a special night," remarked head coach Joe Wallace. "Not only honoring Hank Kuzma but the atmosphere was unbelievable. Our students, the pep band, the local support – it was just great. We had a six-man and I really think that's why we won at the end of the game. It was electric in here and honestly, we have one of the best Division III atmospheres' in the country. I haven't seen anything like it."
Tied 61-61 at the end of regulation, Medaille came out and scored four-straight points to take a 65-61 lead 1:16 into the extra period. Junior Matt Trent (Cleveland, OH/Trinity) halted the Maverick run with a quick layup thanks to an assist from classmate Joe Schriner (Bluffton, OH/Bluffton).
Medaille answered quickly with a pair of layups to take a 69-63 lead, their largest of the game but a pair of John Noce(Brewster, NY/John F. Kennedy Catholic) free throws cut the lead back down to four, 69-65 with 1:12 left in overtime. Trent blocked the Maverick's next attempt and sophomore Sean Hickey (North Olmstead, OH/Holy Name) picked up the rebound and got the ball to Noce who was promptly fouled. Noce once again hit both of his free throws and made it a one-possession game, 69-67 with just 36 seconds left.
Coach Wallace called a time out after the second made free throw and drew up an impressive defensive play. The play worked out as Noce forced a turnover and Trent was fouled after gaining control of the ball. Trent hit the front end of his trip to the line with 26 seconds left but Trent was able to grab the rebound off his second missed free throw.
After a call for a timeout when the Barons did not have one to call sent the Mavericks to the line with a pair of free throws because of a technical foul, the Barons caught a break as Medaille missed both shots. Because it was a non-contact technical, the Barons maintained possession. Hickey was fouled as he attempted a layup on the inbound play and hit both of his free throws with 22 seconds left to give Franciscan the 70-69 lead.
The Mavericks called a timeout with 16 seconds left and set up a play. After driving to the basket, Cedric Mondjii was blocked by junior Josh York (Russia, OH/Russia Local) and Trent grabbed the rebound. Senior Juwan Perkins (Detroit, MI/Oak Park) was fouled and after he missed both free throws, York grabbed a rebound on the second. York was promptly fouled and hit the first free throw. York missed the second and fouled a Maverick when trying to get the rebound.
Once again, the Mavericks went to the line with a chance to tie the game late in overtime. Norman Hughes missed both of his free throws and Trent grabbed the board off the second free throw. Noce was fouled after the rebound and hit the second of two free throws to seal the 72-69 win over Medaille.
"It has been like this all year, and that shows you what kind of kids we have," remarked Coach Wallace. "We were able to pull it off and win in overtime when we should have won in regulation but didn't. For these guys to do this three times this year shows that they are playing with a fire. It is unbelievable. We were down six, and went on a 9-0 run, it's impressive."
The Barons opened the game with a 22-9 run in the first 15 minutes after a defensively charged first half. The Mavericks cut it back to nine, 22-13, but a layup from Trent and Perkins pushed the lead back to 13, 26-13, with 1:39 to play. Schriner hit a three with 34 seconds left to give Franciscan a 31-18 lead at halftime.
After a layup with 18:41 left in the second cut the lead back down to nine, 31-22, Franciscan used a 9-0 run to push their lead to 18, 40-22, with 14:22 left. The Mavericks kept chipping away, and eventually cut the lead down to single digits, 57-48, with 4:29 left in regulation. The Mavericks made it a two-point game, 57-55, with 1:09 left thanks to a layup from Jonathan Smith, but a layup from Perkins pushed the lead back to four, 59-55, with 38 seconds left. A three from Hughes made it a one-point game before Noce hit the back end of a trip to the line to give Franciscan a two-point lead, 61-59. Meghale Ford was able to find a lane with three seconds left to tie the game 61-61 and send the game into a very exciting overtime period.
"The way we win basketball games here is by toughness and confidence," said Coach Wallace. "You look at the stat sheet and nothing is pretty about it. It's toughness and confidence and that's why we call it 'blue color basketball'".

Trent led all players with 17 points while adding 12 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the year. York chipped in nine points to go with his team-leading 13 rebounds. Perkins and Hickey each finished the day with 12 points while Noce handed out three assists and posted a pair of steals.
The Barons are back in action on Wednesday when they welcome Mt. Aloysius to Kuzma Court for an 8:00 pm AMCC contest.