LSUS' Blankenship sinks ETBU 90 - 87 with a buzzer beater
November 23, 2005
Marshall, TX---The LSUS Pilots (6-0) and the East Texas Baptist University Tigers (0-2) have created a rivalry over the past three years that has brought out the best in each of these two teams. In 2003, the Tigers edged out the pilots with an 86-83 win at Ornelas Gymnasium. The Pilots evened the series at 1-1 with a 118-115 double-overtime home victory in 2004. Tuesday night’s rubber match went down to the wire and it was Pilot point guard Kyle Blankenship who connected on a three-point attempt as time expired to give the Pilots a 90-87 win over the Tigers.
The Tigers led by as many 14 points in the first half but a late 13-6 run which was capped by a Jeremy Johnston slam-dunk brought the Pilots to with six and sent the two teams to the locker room with the Tigers ahead 47-41.
Tigers Chris Isom connected on 3-of-5 shooting from the floor and added 5-of-6 free throw attempts for 11 points and collected seven rebounds, both game highs at the half. Melvin Allen also held a hot hand for the Tigers as he connected on 4-7 shooting for eight first half points.
Johnston led the offensive charge for the Pilots picking up nine points while teammate Shadrach Roome collected seven points and a team high six rebounds in the first half. The Pilots managed to shoot 47% (17-36) from the field despite connecting on just 1-of-11 from the three-point line.
In the second half, Fredericko Payne connected to two three-point field goals to get the Pilots within two points at the at the 18:07 mark, but the Tigers continued to fight back and on consecutive trips, Allen and Isom connected on three-point attempts and rebuilt the Tiger lead to nine points (65-56) at the 14:29 mark.
Payne connected on a lay-up at the 12:36 mark which sparked a 20-5 LSUS run which led to the Pilots first lead of the game (69-68) with 8:54 remaining, and a 78-70 lead with 6:05 left on the clock.
Just when the Pilots looked as if they were in control, the Tigers went on an 11-3 run which was capped off by a four-point play by Isom to give the Tigers an 81-80 lead with 3:29 remaining.
Neither team managed to score on their ensuing possessions and the scoring drought was spoiled when Payne was awarded two free three attempts with 2:14 on the clock. Payne connected on both attempts and after Brandon Palmer missed a base line jump shot on the Tigers next possession, Payne drove the lane and connected on a contested lay-up to put the Pilots up 85-81 with just 1:36 remaining.
Payne connected on a baseline jumper for his 6th point in the final two minutes to put the Pilots ahead 87-83 with 0:57 remaining. Just 0:10 later, Palmer connected on a jump shot to pull the Tigers within two points, and Cedrick Isom managed to steal the ball from Payne near half court which led to an uncontested lay-up to tie the score at 87-87 with just 0:14 ticks remaining on the score clock.
With time running down the Pilots were looking for what they hoped would be the shot of the half. Frederick Hughes controlled the ball at the top of the circle and handed the ball off to Payne who drove the lane but was defended by two Tiger defenders. Payne passed to teammate Kyle Blankenship who managed to get a contested three-point attempt off as the game clock expired that found nothing but net to give the Pilots a 90-87 victory over the Tigers. The final shot was Blankenship’s lone field goal on the night, but it came as no surprise to Pilot Head Coach Chad McDowell.
“Kyle is a great shooter who has not shot the ball a whole lot this year. It was just last weekend that I told him he is going to hit a big one for us, and tonight was that night,” commented McDowell.
The Tigers received a double-double from Chris Isom which included a game high 19 points and 12 rebounds while brother Cedrick Isom pitched in with 13 points, nine assists, six rebounds, and four steals. Allen finished with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting to round off the Tigers offense.
“What a great effort by both teams. That is a quality team and program who should win a lot of games this year,” commented McDowell of the 0-2 Tigers. Tuesday night’s loss was the second time the Tigers have lost by just three points as they were on the losing end of a 77-74 decision versus the defending NCAA Division I Southland Conference champion Northwester State Demons Friday night.
Payne poured in 18 points and added two assists while Johnston collected a season high 18 points and five assists to lead the Pilots scoring attack. Josh Porter finished with 15 points and teammate Anton Palmer collected his team leading third double double of the year with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Roome solidified the Pilots postposition and finished with a very strong 12 points and eight rebounds in his 27 minutes of work.
“These are the types of games we are going to be in all year. Tonight’s game was not as fast paced as it has been for us this year despite the 90-87 score, and I think it taught us the importance of each and every possession,” said McDowell.
“The shot that won it was just one piece of the puzzle tonight. This was an entire team victory and is one that each and every one of our guys can be proud of,” concluded McDowell.
The Pilots, now 6-0 on the year, are off to the best start in the school’s history and look to improve upon that mark Friday night when they will take on Central Baptist College in Conway, AR. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00pm