PIPPA PASSES, KY: Sophomore guard Austin Crisp sank a free throw with 4 seconds remaining to provide the final point as the Alice Lloyd Eagles held on to defeat the Point Park Pioneers 89-88 in a thrilling match up in the semi-final round of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. The contest was played Saturday night before a packed house at the Grady Nutt Athletic Center. With the win, ALC avenged an early season 79-75 loss in Pittsburgh, PA.
In the opening half, things started out poorly for the hosts as recently named KIAC Player of the Year Tyler Rogers was forced to leave the game during the first minute with an early injury. The visitors seized the opportunity and rode the scoring of star guard Kelvin Goodwin to control things. They jumped ahead 19-9 with 12:27 remaining.
The Eagles then answered with a 14-0 run behind 8 points from senior guard Cody Stumbo and 6 more from freshman Ryan House to sprint ahead 23-19 with 9:14 left in the half.
The clubs then battled fiercely the remainder of the stanza, but behind 22 points from Goodwin, the Pioneers entered intermission clinging to a 45-41 lead. However, as the buzzer sounded, PPU’s Jerah’me Williams was whistled for a technical which allowed the hosts to start the second half with two free throws.
The Pioneers shot a solid 50% from the field (17-34;5-6 ft) in the first half compared to just 39% (16-41;1-2 ft) for the Eagles.
The second half opened with Stumbo hitting 1-2 free throws. Knowing a spot in the conference finals awaited the victor, both clubs fought furiously. When PPU forward Yandell Denis sank a jumper, the visitors led 64-58 with exactly 10 minutes remaining.
In desperate need of a spark, Alice Lloyd got a major one when senior guard Trevor Combs drained back-to-back triples on consecutive possessions to knot things once more at 66 with 8:45 left. From this point, the fans had little reason to sit down.
This would prove to be one of many ties as the score was knotted up at 64, 66, 68 and 71. With just 1:01 remaining as ALC tried to preserve an 86-80 lead, Point Park’s Goodwin delivered a dagger when he received a pass in the right corner and was fouled on a three point basket. His 4 point play suddenly set the score 86-84.
Stumbo hit 1-2 from the line and then Goodwin delivered a beautiful up-and-under drive to make it a one-point game at 87-86 with 30 seconds left. After Crisp went 1-2 from the stripe, T.J. Lanier tied the score at 88 for the Pioneers on a bank shot with 10 seconds showing.
With the crowd on its feet, Crisp drove the court and was grabbed past half court with 4 seconds flashing on the scoreboard. His first attempt was good but the second bounded off.
The crowd held its collective breath as the Pioneers quickly found Williams who shot an 18 foot jumper as time expired for the win. To the delight of the Eagle fans, his attempt fell short and the crowd exploded with joy.
For the victors (18-11), sophomore Dondre Warren had a big game for Alice Lloyd with 17 points and 17 rebounds. Stumbo added 19 point and made three treys. Combs finished with nine big points — all in the second half — on three treys while Crisp added 9 points and 9 assists. House contributed 9 of his own while Rogers scored 8 points, added 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. He was limited to 17 minutes with the early injury in the game and fouled out in the second half.
For Point Park ( 17-11), Goodwin was exceptional, scoring 34 points on 12-17 field goals (5-6 threes) and 5-5 free throws. He also added 4 steals. Lanier and Williams added 17 and 15 respectively.
With the win, ALC advances to Tuesday’s KIAC Conference Championship. They’ll host the Cincinnati Christian University Eagles (22-8) at 7:00 PM. The two squads split the regular season match-ups with CCU winning at home 66-63 on January 5th and ALC prevailing at home 82-79 on February 9th. The winner will receive a bid to the NAIA Division II National Championship held March 9th-15th in Point Lookout, Missouri.