Down by 18 in the second half, the Presbyterian College men’s basketball team mounted an impressive rally to tie the game and force overtime, only to have Gardner-Webb hit a game-winning three-pointer at the end to fall 69-66 in Big South action Saturday afternoon at Porter Arena in Boiling Springs, N.C. It was the fifth time in the last six games the contest has been decided by four points or less. The game also marked the first regular-season overtime contest for PC since the 2012-13 season.
PC falls to 8-15 overall and 3-9 in the Big South, while the Runnin’ Bulldogs move to 13-12, 8-5. The Blue Hose are back in action Thursday, Feb. 11, at Charleston Southern. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m., and can be seen live on BigSouthSports.com or heard on the radio at Sunny-FM 103.5.
Neither team shot the ball well in the opening minutes with the Blue Hose hitting two-of six, and Gardner-Webb two-of-12, 8:14 into the game. After Ed Drew put the Blue Hose up 8-6 with two free throws, Gardner-Webb answered with seven straight over the next two minutes to build its largest lead at the point at five, 13-8, 10 minutes to go in the half. A dunk by Austin Venable off a nice assist from Davon Bell ended the drought at 8:23.
PC cut the lead to one a couple of times over the next couple of minutes before retaking the lead off two more free throws from Drew 6:03 on the clock.
Back to back Dylan Poston three-pointers erased the deficit, giving GWU the 23-18 lead, 5:03 left.
Poston gave Gardner-Webb an 11 point, 31-20, lead with two more threes in a row, the last at 3:21. The Runnin’ Bulldogs scored the half’s final five points to head to the locker room with the 37-22 lead.
GWU shot 50% for the half, with PC hitting 32%. The story of the half was the 15-9 turnover margin against PC, resulting in a 15-6 advantage in points for the home team. Rebounds were even, 15-15, in the first.
DeSean Murray hit the second half’s first basket but it was Gardner-Webb with the next six of seven points to take the 18-point, 43-25 lead, 17:48 to go. Back to back PC baskets made it a 14-point game less than two minutes later, however.
Trailing by 16, with 12:17 to go, Terry hit his first three-pointer of the game to cut the margin to just 13, 50-37. Venable made it an 11-point game with a layup at 11:11.
PC cut the lead to 11 several times over the next several minutes, the last off a Bell jumper at the 5:01 mark, making it 59-48 in favor of the home team.
A quick 8-0 run off four points from Terry and Murray, highlighted by a beautiful floater from Murray, gave PC a single-digit deficit since late in the first half at three, 61-56, 44 seconds remaining.
After an empty possession by Gardner-Webb, PC gave the ball to Adams, who hit a monster three-pointer with 1.8 seconds left to tie the game at 61-61. The inbounds pass by GWU was broken up as time expired, forcing overtime, the first for the Blue Hose since the 2012-13 season.
The second half saw PC outshoot GWU, 46.9% to 33.3$ and commit just four turnovers.
Venable scored the first points in overtime with a basket at 3:45 to give PC its first lead, 63-61, since midway through the first half. Murray added an old-fashioned three-point play to give PC the five-point, 66-61 lead, 2:30 left.
Harold McBride, with his first three-pointer of the game, cut the margin to two with 49 seconds left.
Poston was fouled with 39 seconds to go, hitting both to knot the game at 66-66. After a missed jumper by PC with 15 second left, Gardner-Webb got the ball with a chance to take the lead. With five seconds left Isaiah Ivey came through for the home team with the game-winning three-pointer, this one from the left side, to give GWU the 69-66 win.
Leading PC was Murray with 24 points and eight rebounds, followed by Terry with 10 points. McBride paced GWU with 15 points, with Tyrell Nelson behind with 14 points and a team-leading 11 rebounds.
PC ended the game with 37.7% shooting from the field, compared to 41.4% for the Bulldogs. PC was 17-20 from the line, with GWU 15-of-21. The Bulldogs connected on six threes, compared to three for PC. After committing 15 turnovers in the first half, PC had just five the remainder of the game to finish with 20, the same number as the home team. The Blue Hose edged GWU on the boards, 40-37.