IUP wins overtime thriller to advance to PSAC tournament semifinals
Crimson Hawks down Edinboro 89-87 in OT
Published: Friday, March 8, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 8, 2013 09:03
The top-seeded Crimson Hawks won an overtime thriller against Edinboro, 89-87, to advance to the semifinals of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference tournament.
“That was the best performance against us all year long,” Head Coach Joe Lombardi said. “We lost some games, but just because we lost some games, that doesn’t mean those teams were better than Edinboro was tonight.
“They showed up. They had big hearts. They competed. And they showed a lot of toughness.”
It was a close battle right from the tipoff. Edinboro gained the biggest lead of the game early at seven with the score 10-3 at the 16:39 mark. IUP responded quickly with a 9-2 run, tying the game at 12. From there the pace was set for the rest of the game as both teams traded baskets up to a 33-31 lead for the Fighting Scots at halftime. Throughout the first half there were nine lead changes and three ties.
The second half was much of the same with neither team gaining a lead more than five. Both teams put up a spectacular fight up to the final seconds where it was Edinboro holding a two-point advantage with 0:39 left on the clock.
The Crimson Hawks raced back down the court and looked for the perfect shot, which would come from Anthony Wells. Wells drove to the basket and sank a layup with just nine seconds left to force overtime with the game knotted at 80.
“We played with a veteran mindset,” Lombardi said. “We had toughness that a veteran team needs and thought the game through.
“They were able to take instruction from the huddle and carry it onto the floor and do some things that didn’t come out of the huddle, and that’s all part of execution and experience.”
Both teams put everything they had left into overtime as they continued to trade baskets and didn’t give their opponent any hope of pulling away. In just five minutes of overtime there were two ties and three lead changes. IUP built a three-point, 88-85, lead off free throws by Scooter Renkin and Josh Wiegand with 36 seconds left to play.
The Fighting Scots cut the Crimson Hawks’ lead to one, but a made free throw by Wells brought it back to two on their next possession with 0:15 left on the clock. IUP held off an aggressive attack from Edinboro to take the 89-87 victory and an instant classic.
“That has to be one of the top five games that I’ve been involved with in the seven years I’ve been at IUP,” Lombardi said. “We’ve had some big games, but the thrill factor had to be very high for the fans because they answered the bell, we answered the bell.”
IUP had five players score in double-digits. Mathis Keita led the way with a career-high 25 points, shooting 52.6 percent, 10-19, from the field. Renkin had a phenomenal night from three-point range, shooting 75 percent, 6-8, and finished with 25 points. Wiegand, Wells and Marcel Souberbielle all finished with 12 points.
IUP out rebounded Edinboro 41-39 and turned the ball over only eight times.