The Edmond Sun

Sports

March 26, 2008

Bronchos lose in double OT

SPRINGFIELD, Mass – Augusta State rallied from deficits throughout both the last five minutes of regulation and in the first overtime session to upend Central Oklahoma 106-104 in double overtime in the opening round of the Elite Eight at the MassMutual Center on Friday.

It marked the first double overtime game in the Elite Eight since 1982 when Florida Southern defeated Kentucky Wesleyan 90-89 in a semifinal encounter.

The game ended with senior star Sam Belt on the floor, who tripped — or was knocked down — while trying to get upcourt after rebounding a missed ASU free throw with 4.5 seconds left and the Bronchos down by the final two-point margin.

“I probably should have passed the ball,” said Belt, the All-American who ended his career as UCO’s second-leading all-time scorer. “Normally I don’t trip over my own feet when I’m dribbling, but there was no call and there’s nothing you can do about that.”

The Jaguars outscored the Bronchos 16-6 during the last 4:53 to force the first overtime, and rallied from a six point, 91-85, deficit with 3:07 left in the first overtime to punch another five minutes on the clock.

Augusta State (26-6), which turned the ball over only three times during the last 30 minutes after committing nine giveaways in the first half, never looked back at that juncture as senior forward AJ Bowman knocked down a trey at the onset of the second overtime to afford the Jaguars the lead for good. Belt hit a runner to bring the Bronchos (28-6) to within a bucket with three seconds left, but Augusta State was able to inbound the ball and run out the clock.

“Perseverance won the game. It’s a shame someone had to lose. It was an ESPN Classic game,” said Augusta State head coach Dip Metress.

Senior guard Demetrius Howard buried three, 3-pointers, including a pair 30 seconds apart in the final 1:17, to lead the Jaguar’s comeback in regulation; while junior center Garret Siler converted a traditional three-point play at the 2:44 mark and then went 1-for-2 from the stripe with 21 seconds remaining to spearhead Augusta State’s rally in the first extra period.

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