January 11, 2014

Pirates win SCAC thriller

GEORGETOWN, Texas – Blake Scott's fade away jumper with one second left handed Southwestern their first conference win of the season, 70-68 over Texas Lutheran University on Saturday.  

Southwestern picked apart TLU's high pressure defense early to lead 8-2, but TLU quickly evened the count 8-8. SU was hot from the floor, shooting over 60% in the opening 11 minutes but couldn't distance themselves from the Bulldogs as the game remained tied 20-20 with nine minutes remaining in the half.

Back to back heads up plays by Daniel Mataya led to open threes for Adrian Johnson and Michael Cantu who knocked them down to give the lead back to Southwestern 30-26 with 4:37 to play in the half.

Chase Kocher nailed an acrobatic layup with 39 seconds left on the clock and Zach Whitlock pulled down a huge offensive rebound on the missed free throw, giving SU a chance to extend their lead heading into halftime. The Pirates capitalized with a three from the top of the key by Cantu and headed into halftime up 37-35.

The tide turned at the start of the second half as TLU came out on a mission and took an eight point lead, 53-45, with 10 minutes to play. Southwestern closed the gap and eventually took the lead from the free throw line, 59-58, with just under five to play.

The lead seesawed back and forth the rest of the way, each team giving their all to get the win. It was TLU that faced the opportunity first, gaining possession with 43 seconds left. TLU called a timeout with 22 seconds on the shot clock but Mataya took matters into his own hands, drawing a charge as Troy Griffith drove for a layup to give SU the ball back.

Head Coach Bill Raleigh drew up the Pirates' plan and it was executed to perfection. Chris Lee penetrated from the wing and found Blake Scott at the high post. Scott collected the ball, spun to the middle, took one dribble and hit a fade away jumper from 12 feet out to put SU back on top with one second left.

TLU's long distance toss hit the scoreboard, giving Southwestern the ball back and effectively the win, needing to only inbound the ball to seal the game.

SU shot 43.8% from the floor and 30% from three point range while TLU went 38.5% from the floor and 33.3% from long range. It wouldn't have even been a contest, but SU shot only 56.4% from the free throw line, losing out on 17 points. The Pirates did dominate the boards, pulling down seven more rebounds in the win and logged a season high six blocks including four from Sean Myers.

Scott led the Pirates with 18 points while Cantu added in 17 and Kocher 12. TLU's Jordan Kouremetis led all scorers with 23 points.

Southwestern improves to 4-9 on the year and 1-2 in the SCAC while TLU falls to 5-8 overall, 0-3 in conference action. The Pirates continue conference play at home on Friday, hosting Austin College at 6 p.m.

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