Pioneer blows huge lead, but pulls out double OT win over Bedford
Pioneer head coach Rex Stanczak couldn’t believe his team pulled out a double overtime win over Bedford Friday night. After being outscored blowing an 18-point lead, Stanczak only had one word to describe what happened.
“Unbelievable,” Stanczak said. “It is so difficult when you hit the slippery slope like we hit, to get it back. Usually the team that has the momentum gets it into overtime.”
But after being tied 60-60 at the end of regualtion, and again at 64-64 after the first overtime, Pioneer pulled out a 74-69 double overtime win.
MLive.com: Boxscore | Basketball roundup
With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Pioneer (8-4, 3-1 SEC Red) held its largest lead of the game. Up 18 points and in complete control, the Pioneers were well on their way to a victory over Bedford (7-3, 3-1).
But poor decisions on the offensive end and numerous fouls allowed the Kicking Mules to storm back and send the game into overtime.
Bedford more than doubled its offensive production for the first three quarters combined and outscored Pioneer 31-15 in the fourth.
“It was fouls, we got in that situation where we’re in the bonus in the third quarter, and immediately there in the fourth quarter, it was just so hard for us to guard the way we guard, cause we like to pressure.”
Two starters for the Pioneers fouled out in the fourth quarter as Ethan Spencer (13 points) and Jibreel Hussein (eight points) each had to sit with five fouls. Aedan York would also foul out later in the game.
Because of the foul trouble, Bedford was able to trim the 18-point deficit to just five in two minutes, 20 seconds. York would respond by making a basket while being fouled. He made the ensuing free-throw giving Pioneer a 58-50 lead with 2:34 left. York would then commit his fifth foul sending him to the bench and Bedford to the line.
With just over a minute left in the game, Bedford’s Jackson Lamb (26 points, including 14-19 from the free-throw line) pulled down a rebound and found Kenneth McFadden for a layup, cutting the lead to one. On Pioneer's possession, McFadden would steal the ball giving his team a chance to win.
The Mules would turn the ball over and foul Pioneer’s Nick Rakic sending him to the line. Rakic would split the pair. With 18 seconds left and a two-point lead, Pioneer would inexplicably foul Bedford’s Ryan Rightnower, who would make both free throws tying the game at 60.
Pioneer’s Jimmy Holman missed an off-balance jumper at the end of regulation, sending the game into overtime.
“We got comfortable and we let it slide,” said Holman, who had a season-high 24 points to lead Pioneer. “We didn’t match their intensity in the second half like we did in the first half.”
Bedford took its first lead since the first quarter in the first session of overtime.
“You never think you have it, but when you’re down as much as we were down and you take a three-point lead, you gotta like your chances,” said Bedford head coach Nick Lowe.
The Pioneers tied the game 64-64 with 32 seconds remaining, which is how the first overtime would end.
With Pioneer trailing 69-68 with a minute left, Ja’Korey Davis put the Pioneers ahead with a jump shot. From there, Gabe Isa would block a shot by McFadden and the Mules would foul Holman who would make both free throws. Bedford once again turned the ball over and was forced to foul Holman again, who made both his attempts again giving Pioneer the 74-69 win.
“It was a team win, I’m really proud of them,” said Holman who was 8-of-8 at the free-throw line.
“The defense definitely let down, but a lot of it was just offensively we did some things in the fourth quarter that we don’t normally do,” Stanczak said. “But I’m really proud of the metal they showed and the mental toughness to pull it out in overtime.”