DeSean Murray tied his career-high with 24 points to lead the Presbyterian College men's basketball team back from a late-game deficit, hitting three free throws to put the Blue Hose within one with under a minute to play and helping the home team to the 74-73 win Monday night at the Templeton Center in Clinton, S.C. Reggie Dillard’s only two points of the game were the two free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to put PC over the edge.
PC improves to 1-1 on the year, while USC Upstate drops to 0-2. The Blue Hose are next in action Wednesday, Nov. 18, as they take on Toccoa Falls in a 7 p.m., contest at the Templeton Center.
After a lay-up by Murray and a free throw, PC found themselves down by just two, 71-69, only 2:58 to play in the game. The Spartans came back with a basket by Jacob Schulte to jump the score back to four, with two to play.
Two more free throws by Murray made it a two-point game again, with another foul by Upstate putting the forward back on the line. He hit one of two as PC cut the margin to one.
After a missed three by the Spartans, the Blue Hose got the ball back with just under nine seconds and Dillard drove the length of the floor looking for the lay-up. He was fouled on the lay-up at 1.5 and sent to the line. He hit both to suddenly give PC the one-point advantage. Upstate heaved a desperation shot as time expired but it wasn’t close to the rim as the Blue Hose came away with the come from behind, 74-73 win.
The Spartans stormed out of the gate and built a 15-point, 24-9 lead 10:31 into the first half, capped by a three-pointer from Tristan Thomas, his first of two threes on the night. The Blue Hose and Spartans traded baskets the next six minutes and with 4:18 to go, and trailing by 13, PC offense came alive with a 12-1 run, highlighted by threes from Ruben Arroyo and Jaron Withers, to cut the margin to just two, 37-35, at the 37 second mark. Another three by Thomas, this one with 24 ticks left, made it a five-point at the half, 40-35.
Darius Moore’s three with 18:57 left in the second half knotted the contest at 40-40, igniting a close battle the next several minutes, with both teams trading the lead several times.
PC took a one-point lead, 48-47, at 15:22, off a Markus Terry three, before the Spartans went on a 9-2 run to take their largest lead of the half to that point, 56-50, 12:37 left in the contest.
The Blue Hose scored the next eight of nine points, five coming from Murray, to retake the lead, 58-57, 10:58 left. Mike Cunningham hit a three-pointer, the team’s seventh of the night, to give Upstate a two-point lead back at 10:48. Six unanswered by USC Upstate brought the visitors up to seven, 66-69, with 8:05 to go.
PC cut the margin to three at the six minute mark and again at 4:51, but Upstate kept coming back with answers.
10 of Murray’s 24 points came from the line, with teammate Ed Drew backing him up on the floor with 2 points. Murray led the team in rebounds as well with seven. Upstate was led by Damian Goodwin with 14 points and Deion Holmes with 12. Josh Cuthbertson pulled down a team-leading nine rebounds.
PC shot 43.4% from the field, including a 10-of-21 effort in the second half. The Blue Hose held a slight rebounding edge, 37-34, and had four more turnovers, 15-11. PC connected on 23-of-32 free throws, compared to 12-of-25 for Upstate. The Spartans posted seven three-pointers, with PC adding five.