Senior Brandon Hayes sank a jumper in the paint with six-tenths of a second remaining to hand the visiting Alice Lloyd Eagles a 69-68 come-from-behind victory before a stunned crowd at Milligan College last night.
In the opening half, the host Buffaloes stampeded out of the gate to grab a 7-0 lead. By the end of the half, their lead had stretched to 14 (38-24), sparked by two late threes from guard Kyle Grigsby.
Milligan maintained their slim lead before pulling comfortably ahead by 11 (62-51) with just 5:00 remaining. During this surge, the Buffaloes received several key buckets by Morgan McLeod.
At this point, most in attendance felt the contest was over; what they didn’t realize, however, was that the Eagles would not cooperate.
Over the next four minutes, the determined squad from ALC proceeded to go on a 16-6 run of their own, sparked by three–point shots from Casey Dalton, Isaac Wilson, and Clint Stepp. Suddenly, they had sliced the host’s lead to just one (68-67).
After they made another solid defensive possession, ALC got the ball hoping for a last second miracle.
The Eagles’ Hayes had the ball and drove for the hoop looking for the winning score, but was fouled with 2.5 seconds remaining.
On the free throw attempt, the usually steady forward missed. However, teammate Brent Hall had a solid block out and managed to knock the round ball loose. In the scramble, the ball somehow found its way back in Hayes’s hands.
The forward quickly fired the jumper and found the bottom of the net with :00.6 showing on the clock. The hosts had no time to get off a potential winner before time expired.
For the victorious Eagles (8-4), they were led by Dalton with 18 points. Fellow senior Hayes was right behind with 15. Wilson and Hall each added 10.
Hayes led all players with 4 assists, while Hall led all Eagles rebounders with 9.
The Buffaloes (4-6) were led by Grigsby with 17.
The Eagles found a way to win despite shooting under 36% from the floor and only 61% from the charity stripe. Fortunately, they made all of the big plays at crunch time and were able to escape with a huge victory.