Buzzer-Beater Gives Flyers Win
Watch Flyers Live
To watch tonight's Flyers semifinal contest against Bronx CC, click here.
For a few game notes and a breakdown of the final "Miracle Minute," click here.
UPDATED 9:15 A.M.
An almost length of the court dash for the winning basket by Daquain Towns as the buzzer sounded produced a victory that may live forever in the lore of basketball at Sandhills Community College.
Brookdale Community College appeared to have wrapped up the NJCAA Division III first-round game at Sullivan Community College in New York when Khalil Bennett sank an 18-foot jumper with 3.8 seconds remaining that put the Jerseyans in front 92-91.
But after each team called a timeout, the ball was inbounded to Towns who raced up court and released his trademark floater from about the foul line. It gave the Flyers a 93-92 victory over a Jersey Blues squad that came into the national championship as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation.
SCC Flyers: Round One Thriller
A buzzer-beater released by Daquain Towns with .01 seconds remaining on the clock found the bottom the net to give Sandhills an unforgettable 93-92 first-round victory over top-ranked Brookdale Community College, Thursday in the the NJCAA Divsion III national basketball tournament. The Flyers face Bronx CC in the semifinals today at 7 p.m. Photos by Donna Ford.
A moment before Bennett’s basket, Towns had put the Flyers in front with a pair of free throws in the dizzying contest.
“I actually didn’t think I was going to make it,” Towns said of the improbable coast-to-coast dash. “I thought I was going to have to pull up for a three. I looked up after I got past half court and saw I had two seconds so I knew I could get into the lane. I practice that floater all the time.”
Towns and T.J. Jones led the Flyers, now 28-6, with 16 points each. Markell Lotharp added 14. Erick Ewing contributed eight points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots.
The Flyers meet another New York Metropolitan area team in Bronx CC in one of tonight’s semifinal games at 7 p.m. The Broncos defeated Roxbury CC (MA) 81-73 in Thursday’s final game.
Towns made an early statement play when he grabbed the first missed shot of the game and went the length of the court for a 2-0 Flyer lead. Neither team led by more than four points in a first half that saw the Flyers commit 13 turnovers. But 10 points by Towns and nine off the bench by Jones gave them a 48-47 lead at the intermission.
Michael Collins got coach Mike Apple’s squad off to a good start in the second half with a three. Tied at 71-71 after a drive for two by Trevor Cole at the 9:35 mark, the Jersey Blues mounted one of the games many mini-runs to take a 76-71 lead on a three by Kevin Olen.
The Flyers drew even at 76-76 on a basket by Jones and so it would go until the end.
With just over four minutes remaining, Dre Huntley threw a long pass to Lotharp on the fly and the 6-foot-6 forward went airborne from about 15 feet out and jammed it for a 84-81 Flyer lead.
The advantage was 86-81 when the Blues used their speed and some good fortune to retake the lead.
“They were the quickest team we’ve ever played,” Huntley said. “It was the best competition we’ve had all year.”
In a span of 15 seconds, Bennett banked home a three and Natanael Pacius turned a steal into a three-point play and an 87-86 Brookdale lead. Huntley appeared to have put the Flyers in front with a drive at the 30-second mark, but was called for a charge.
“I was livid on that play,” said Apple, who had to be restrained from going on the court after the call.
The deficit was three points when Raheem Jolliffe tied the game up again with a long three, leading to the series of clutch plays by both sides that decided the game.
Bennett and Polk led the Blues, now 27-3, with 22 points apiece. Lotharp and Huntley both fouled out down the stretch, making things tougher for the Flyers.
“Nobody should have had to lose that basketball game,” Apple said. “Both teams had a great desire not to lose that ball game.”
As has been the case through the Region X and District 7 tournament conquests, there was not much time to celebrate.
“This is only the first game,” Huntley said. “We’re looking for the championship.”
Brookdale 47 45 — 92
Sandhills 48 45 — 93
Brookdale: Jetter 0 0-0 0, Polk 10 2-2 22, McPaul 2 0-0 4, Ohen 6 2-4 16, Bennett 8 3-5 22, Pacius 5 6-10 17, Goldstein 1 5-6 7, Glass 0 0-0 0, Walker 0 0-0 0, Vital 1 2-3 4. Totals 33 20-30 92.
Sandhills: Collins 3 0-0 7, Towns 6 4-4 16, Cole 2 0-0 4, Craft 2 2-5 6, Lotharp 5 3-4 14, Gill 0 0-0 0, Jolliffe 2 2-5 7, Huntley 4 1-2 9, Washington 1 4-6 6, Jones 6 3-5 16, Pride 0 0-0 0, Ewing 3 2-2 8. Totals 34 21-33 93.
Three-point goals: (B) 6 (Bennett 3, Ohen 2, Pacius); (S) 4 (Collins, Lotharp, Jolliffe, Jones).
More like this story