Shot down at the wire
Monday, December 18, 2006
Jacksonville State solves its last-second problems with a 70-67 victory over Southeast.
After losing their first two Ohio Valley Conference games by one point on shots in the last five seconds, Jacksonville State's Gamecocks figured the basketball gods owed them something.
That did little to ease the pain Southeast Missouri State felt.
JSU junior guard Will Ginn swished a 3-pointer from about 30 feet just before the final buzzer Sunday, sending the host Redhawks to a 70-67 defeat.
"We've been on the other side ... you feel bad for the other team," JSU coach Mike LaPlante said. "But it was a great shot."
Ginn nailed the game-winner after Southeast junior forward Brandon Foust tipped in a missed shot with five seconds remaining for a 67-67 tie.
"It felt real good when I let it go. I didn't know if it would be a little long, but it went in," Ginn said. "We've lost two really tough games. I guess, the law of averages, they even out."
After Ginn made his shot -- which was clearly released before the buzzer -- time expired, but the officials huddled and put five-tenths of a second back on the clock.
That left the Redhawks enough time to nearly force overtime with a miraculous shot of their own, but senior guard Terrick Willoughy's heave from just beyond mid-court clanged off the rim.
"They kind of won one in the fashion they've lost both," Southeast coach Scott Edgar said. "And then we almost tied it again with Terrick's shot."
Although it's still very early in the OVC race, the Redhawks (3-8, 1-3) fell into last place, a spot that had been occupied by the hard-luck Gamecocks (3-6, 1-2).
Free-throw shooting, a problem for Southeast all year, turned out to be one of the glaring contributors in the loss.
The Redhawks entered the game last in the 11-team OVC at 57.4 percent, which also placed them toward the bottom nationally.
Southeast was sent to the line a whopping 35 times Sunday but made just 19. That amounts to 54.3 percent.
Conversely, JSU -- the OVC free-throw leader at 70.4 percent prior to Sunday -- attempted only 17 foul shots but hit 13 for 76.5 percent.
"It's kind of disappointing what we've done from the foul line this year," Edgar said. "I like the fact we got there that many times, but you have to convert.
"We've worked on it a lot. We've just got to keep shooting them [in practice] ... we have to capitalize on them."
The Redhawks particularly struggled from the charity stripe late, making only five of their final 14 attempts.
Several of those misses came after Southeast, which trailed much of the game, grabbed a 57-54 lead after a 3-pointer by freshman point guard Roderick Pearson with 6 minutes and 22 seconds remaining.
Southeast kept the advantage until there were less than three minutes to play but failed on several opportunities to expand what never got bigger than a four-point margin.
"We work on it [free throws], but we just have to take it to the game," Southeast junior center Mike Rembert said. "We had a couple of opportunities to put the game away."
Pearson, making his first Southeast start in place of injured junior point guard Paul Paradoski, made one of two free throws with 1:24 left to put the Redhawks up 65-64.
Courtney Bradley's 3-pointer with 1:10 remaining gave JSU a 67-65 lead, which is the way things stood in the closing seconds.
Pearson missed on a drive to the basket, but Foust was there for the tip with five seconds left, which set the stage for Ginn's game-winner.
Rembert, a transfer from Bradley, had the best offensive game in his first season with the Redhawks, scoring 20 points. He made seven of 10 shots from the field but was just six of 11 from the line.
Foust, Southeast's leading scorer, had 11 of his 12 points in the second half. He also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
Pearson had five assists and just one turnover as he and Willoughby shared point-guard duties.
Five players scored in double figures for JSU, led by forward Dorien Brown with 15 points, but he fouled out with 14:49 left.
Southeast had only nine turnovers but was outrebounded 43-33 as that area has also been a sore spot for the Redhawks so far.
The Redhawks trailed 39-30 at halftime and fell behind by 12 points early in the second half before rallying.
Southeast took its first lead since 3-2 on Rembert's basket with 9:47 left that made it 52-50. The Redhawks held an advantage for much of the remainder of the game, but it was never bigger than four points.
"We played hard but we just came up short," Rembert said.
The Redhawks will try to bounce back Tuesday night when they host OVC preseason favorite Samford (3-4, 1-0).