By: Matt Ankenbrandt, Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) Sports Information Director
BELLEVILLE, Ill. – The Lindenwood University – Belleville (Ill.) men's basketball team didn't need a last second shot to take down NAIA #3 ranked Freed – Hardeman (Tenn.) this time around, all they needed was good defense. Up two with nine seconds remaining the Lynx stole the ball away from the Lions of Freed – Hardeman and went on to win 83-81.
Head Coach Scott Spinner talked about the defense in the final nine seconds.
"We picked up the point guard in the back court because what we said was whoever is throwing the ball in with nine seconds left, usually the four man, would not be involved in the play," stated Spinner. "So we said whoever is guarding the four man shadow the ball and just follow it, that ended up putting three defenders on the ball and it prevented them from driving to the bucket. That was our plan, it is one thing to have a plan and it is another thing to execute it, and they went out and executed it. We are really proud of that possession at the end."
Craig Anderson came up big once again for the Lynx finishing the game with 27 points, five rebounds, five steals, and three assists. Anderson finished the game with 11 free throws. Darius Holman picked up all of his 15 points in the second half, including a three point play with 33 seconds left in the game. Garrett Gaffner and Chris Stevenson each chipped in nine points apiece. The Lynx finished the game shooting thirty-five percent from behind the three point line.
To start the game the Lions went on a 12-1 run to take an early 11 point lead. The run was capped off by a layup from Orlando Bass. Craig Anderson connected on a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to seven with 11:08 remaining in the first half.
Up seven the Lions went on a 15-3 run to extend their lead to 19. Damion Wooten connected on a pair of three pointers and Reginald Gilmore knocked down a free throw to cap off the run. The Lynx made the final four points of the half to cut the deficit to 42-26 at the break.
In the first half the Lynx shot sixteen percent from the field compared to the Lions forty-five percent. Craig Anderson led the Lynx at the half with 11 points.
To start the second half the Lynx went on a 10-1 run to cut the deficit to seven. Garrett Gaffner knocked down a three pointer to start the run and Craig Anderson picked up a three point play to cap the run off. The Lions extended the lead back to 12 after basket and free throw by Orlando Bass and a jumper from Gilmore.
Down 10 with 11:32 left in the game the Lynx went on a 12-0 run to take their first lead of the game. Darius Holman made four straight points to cap off the run. The Lions came right back and went on a 7-0 run to take a five point lead of their own.
The Lynx battled back and tied the game up at 73 with just over three minutes remaining. Both teams would trade the lead over the final three minutes, but a dunk by Holman and a foul would extend the Lynx lead to three with 33 seconds left. Orlando Bass connected on one of two free throws to cut the deficit to two and after two missed free throws by the Lynx the Lions had one last chance. The Lynx defense came up big and did not allow a shot over the final nine seconds, they went on to win 83-81.
Coach Spinner talked about the tough first half for the Lynx and how they overcame that in the second half.
"I was real proud of our guys, they played tough. We did not start the game very well, we got down early, but we knew that if we played tough defense and could weather the storm, we could get back in the game," stated Spinner. "That was one of the game plans in our scouting report against this team, they can go on runs and we knew that if they do, we needed to weather the storm and it would eventually end. We knew as long as you play tough defense and control the boards at some point we would make a run of our own and it came after halftime, that is not ideal, but we are excited about the result."
With the win the Lynx move to 18-7 on the season and extend their winning streak to seven. The Lions fall to 20-2 on the season after the loss.
Coach Spinner talked about what this win means moving forward.
"This win means a lot, it is one thing to beat the number one team in the country once and it is quite another to do it twice," stated Spinner. "Hopefully the raters that are out there will take notice. I think some of them took notice after the first win, but two wins over a top five team in the country is pretty impressive and I hope that puts us in the national rankings, I think it is deserving of it."
Next up the Lynx will travel to Wilberforce, Ohio Thursday to take on Wilberforce University. Tip-off is set for 6 pm.