No. 7 Oregon Tech Escapes with 65-63 Win over Geoducks
Oregon Tech's Brandon Bautista Hit a pair of free throws with just 3 tenths of a second left to give OIT the 65-63 win (Photot by Kelly Caleb)
OLYMPIA, Wash. – For 39:59.7, the Evergreen Geoducks went toe-to-toe with the seventh-ranked Oregon Tech Owls but a late foul allowed the Hustlin' Owls to escape Olympia with the win, 65-63, in a Cascade Collegiate Conference men’s basketball game on Friday night at CRC Gymnasium.
In the first half, it looked like someone forgot to tell the Geoducks (7-16, 4-9 CCC) that the Owls (22-3, 13-1 CCC) were ranked so high in the national poll as Evergreen seemed to match OIT on every basket as the teams stayed close most of the period. The seventh-ranked Owls eventually went on a seven-point run to pull ahead but needed a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Matt Smith to take the 38-29 halftime lead.
The Owls hit a three just 36 seconds into the second half but quickly went cold, allowing the Geoducks to go on an 8-0 run that got Evergreen back within four, 41-37, with 16 minutes left to play. A Patrick Lewis (Seattle, Wash./Grays Harbor CC) jumper got Evergreen back within three with 15:15 left to play as the Geoducks would simply not go away.
It wasn’t until the 11:15 mark that Tech would make their second field goal as Evergreen kept the pressure tight as OIT only held a five-point lead with 10 minutes to play. The Geoducks offense cooled off in the second half as well as Evergreen struggled to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the defense. A layup by Marice Tolliver (Tacoma, Wash./Lower Columbia CC) with just over four minutes left got Evergreen back within one point, 53-52, and the Geoducks continued to play tough on defense. After two OIT free throws, Green tied it up on a free throw following a made basket with 3:47 left to play as both squads entered the closing minutes with a chance to collect the victory.
The Geoducks took their first lead of the second half with 2:12 left to play as Tolliver hit a pair of free throws to take the 59-58 lead. After a pair of Evergreen players were crushed in the paint, the Owls took the lead back on a three-pointer on the next possession, Green hit two more free throws to tie the game up with 1:24 left on the clock.
One of two free throws gave the Owls the one-point lead heading into the final minute and Tolliver missed a jumper as the shot clock expired, forcing Evergreen to foul with 29.7 left to play. OIT’s Brent Johnson missed the first free throw but made the second as the Geoducks headed down the court down by two and a blank shot clock.
With just 4.3 seconds left to play, freshman Mikey Hope (Tacoma, Wash./Wilson HS) avoided the double team to hit a layup that tied the game at 63. The Cinderella story didn’t quite reach the final page as Hope was called for a block with just 0.3 seconds left to play and Brandon Bautista made a pair of free throws to give OIT the 65-63 win.
Evergreen was led by 14 points each from Hope and Tolliver while the latter also added eight rebounds in the close game. Michael Brumsey (Tacoma, Wash./South Puget Sound CC) added 10 points as the Geoducks were a perfect 16-for-16 from the charity stripe. Evergreen also outrebounded Oregon Tech, 39-35, but turned the ball over 16 times, compared with just 10 for the Owls.
The Owls were led by 21 from Joseph Foster, who connected on eight of 18 from the field. Brent Johnson added 12 points while Mihajlo Matic chipped in 10. OIT shot just 36.67% from the field and just 60.00% on free throws but Tech made the free ones when it counted as they picked up the win.
No. 7 Oregon Tech will play at No. 16 Northwest University with the tip-off scheduled for 7:30 pm. The game will be broadcast locally on 92.5 KLAD-FM and everywhere in the world at www.oitsports.com starting with the Danny Miles Show at 7:00 pm with Mike Garrard and Bobby Thompson.
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