CLINCHED! Barons Head to AMCC Tournament Thanks to Buzzer Beater

More news about: Franciscan (Ohio)

GREENSBURG, Pa. – It took exactly 45 minutes of basketball, but the Franciscan men's basketball sealed their spot in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference tournament with a thrilling 75-74 overtime win at Pitt.-Greensburg thanks to the buzzer-beating three from sophomore guard Sean Hickey (North Olmstead, OH/Holy Name).
With 10 seconds to play in overtime and down 74-72, junior John Noce (Brewster, NY/John F. Kennedy Catholic) grabbed the rebound off of a missed free throw from Greensburg and was promptly fouled before making it past mid-court. Noce missed the front end of the 1-and-1 but junior Josh York (Russia, OH/Russia Local) battled for the rebound and got the loose ball to Noce. After driving to the basket and not finding an opening, Noce kicked the ball out to Hickey who was waiting three steps behind the three-point line and drained the long three as time expired to lift the Barons to the 75-74 win.
"Wow! Tonight's win just sums up this team," remarked head coach Joe Wallace. "We never stop believing we can find a way."
The win clinched a playoff spot for the Barons with a game left in the regular season. The Barons improved to 12-12 on the year and the win hands Coach Wallace his 21st as the head coach since taking over the program in 2016. The 21 wins ties the career-coaching record for the Barons in their short NCAA history.
"This group is tight and continues to get tighter," continued Coach Wallace. "We won't realize what we've accomplished until it's over."
The Barons found themselves down early in the contest after JoJo France hit a three in the Bobcats' first possession and built an eight-point lead, 17-9, with 14:47 to play in the first. Junior Matt Trent (Cleveland, OH/Trinity) cut the lead back down to five with a three thanks to a nice feed from freshman Justin Mack (Oxnard, CA/Oxnard) with 14:31 to go. Mack then took a steal coast-to-coast and finished his fast break layup to get the Barons to within three, 17-14, with 13:44 on the clock.
A layup and 'and-1' from junior Joe Schriner (Bluffton, OH/Bluffton) tied the game at 17 but an 8-5 run for the Bobcats pushed their lead back to five, 25-20. After a Noce layup, Kyle Bondi hit a three to give Greensburg a six-point lead, 28-22, with 8:47 left before the break. Schriner tied it at 30 with a three just under two minutes later but the Bobcats maintained their control of the half and used a 9-6 run in the final six minutes to take a 39-36 lead into halftime.
Hickey opened the half with a jumper to cut the lead to one, 39-38, after grabbing his own offensive rebound after a missed three. The second half played much like the first, a back-and-forth affair with the Bobcats and Barons trading leads.
With 15:43 to play, Mack drained a three to give the Barons their first lead of the game, 45-42. A jumper and a layup from Travis Lien (St. Louis, MO/Kirkwood) pushed the Franciscan lead to seven, 49-42, and Lien's free throw after the layup gave the Barons a 50-42 advantage with 13:43 to play. The Bobcats clawed their way back and tied the game 52-52 with 10:36 to play. Greensburg re-took the lead 54-52 after a steal and layup from Bondi. York tied the game back at 54-54 but the Bobcats took the lead back with 9:17 to play and did not relinquish the advantage until the 2:41 mark when York made a layup to tie the game at 63. After a York steal on the next Bobcat possession. Noce finished a jumper to give Franciscan a 65-63 lead with 1:59 to play in regulation.

The Bobcats tied it back up at 65 with 55 seconds left after a layup from Matt Johnson and Franciscan promptly called a time out. An unfortunate turnover from the Barons gave the ball back to Greensburg with just 37 seconds to play in regulation but Cam Seigfried missed a long three with nine seconds left and Schriner picked up the rebound. Once again Coach Wallace called a timeout and set up his play. Noce went to the hoop but was blocked by Bondi as time expired and the game headed to overtime.
Noce opened the extra period with a pair of good free throws to give Franciscan a 67-65 lead and Hickey hit a three after Trent grabbed an offensive board to extend the Barons' lead to five, 70-65. Greensburg used a 9-0 run over the next 2:24 to take a four-point lead with just 36 seconds left on the clock.
After Schriner missed a jumper, Johnson grabbed the rebound and the Barons fouled twice to set up a 1-and-1 chance for the Bobcats. Seigfried missed the front end and York grabbed the rebound. Hickey missed a three but Trent was there to pull down the board and get the ball to York for the layup with 12 seconds left. The Bobcats inbounded the ball and Trent tried to tie up France for a jump ball but was called for the foul. France missed the front end and set up the exciting finish for the Barons.

Hickey led the team with 16 points, including a 4-for-9 day from three-point range. Trent finished the day with 12 points and a team-best nine rebounds. Lien was the third Baron in double figures with 11 points, three steals, and four rebounds. Schriner dished out three assists to go with his eight points and three boards. Noce finished the day with eight points, six rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.
Hickey now has 71 made three pointers for the season and the single-season record for made three's in a single-season for the Barons.
As a team the Barons shot 38.4% from the floor (28-for-73) and was 10-12 from the free throw line.
The Barons finish out their road trip to wrap up the regular season as they head to Buffalo, NY on Saturday to square off against D'Youville in a 4:00 pm AMCC contest.