WICHITA, Kan. – Dashon Bell knocked down a 15-foot jump shot from the wing in between a pair of defenders as time expired to lift the University of Central Oklahoma men's basketball team to a 68-66 victory over Newman in Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association play at Fugate Gymnasium.
Bell stole the ball on the previous possession as Newman tried to take the final shot. He called a timeout with 4.2 seconds left. Then after the timeout, he took an inbounds pass, drove the length of the court, cut back after nearly losing the ball, and pulled up for the jumper.
Officials checked the monitors to see if any time was left. There was not. Central Oklahoma got the win.
"I'm just so proud of the guys for fighting tonight," UCO head coach Bob Hoffman said after the game. "We had to respond and we did. We kept fighting and we found a way. That was a big win for these guys and I think it's going to go a long ways for them moving forward."
Bell finished with 10 points. He was just 2-for-10 from the floor, but the second make came as time expired.
Central Oklahoma is now 4-8 on the season and 1-2 in the MIAA. The Bronchos are off for two weeks before returning to the court in 2020.
Central Oklahoma found itself in an early hole. Newman went up 5-0 before a Justin Nimmer layup put the Bronchos on the board. Newman followed that with an 11-0 run that made it 16-2 with 15:26 to play.
UCO responded with an 8-0 run to cut it to 16-10, then kept it close for a few minutes in the middle of the first half. Central tied the game, 20-20, when Bell made a layup with 7:51 to play, erasing the early 14-point deficit. The 18-6 run by the Bronchos spanned 7:42 and was led by D.J. Basey's 10 points. The freshman, who made his first career start Saturday, went 5-for-6 during the stretch.
Newman though responded with an 13-2 run of its own to go back ahead, 33-22 as the first half wound down. Central cut it back into single digits in the final two minutes. Dashawn McDowell banked in a jump shot in the paint, then made a pair of free-throws to cut the lead to seven, 35-28, with 1:28 to go.
After another late response from Newman pushed the lead back to 11, McDowell earned a layup as time expired on a backdoor pass from Bell that made it 39-30 at the break.
In the second half, Central and Newman went back and forth for the first five minutes. The lead never went above 11 points, but UCO couldn't get any closer than eight.
Central finally did crack that mark on a Nimmer layup with 13:30 to play in the game. That made it 46-40. But Newman had a response again, stretching the lead back up to 10 points, 52-42, with 11:34 to play.
That's when UCO made another big, late rally, and tied the game, 54-54, on a Cam Givens 3-pointer with 6:47 to go. UCO tied it again, 56-56, on a pair of free-throws from Nimmer. After a free-throw on Newman's end, Nimmer hit a 3-pointer from the corner that gave the Bronchos their first lead of the game, 59-57, with just under four minutes to play.
Basey added to the lead, laying up a basket as the shot clock buzzer sounded to give UCO a 61-57 lead with 2:58 to play. But again, the way it happened almost all afternoon, Newman responded, going up 62-61 with on a pair of free-throws with 1:53 to play.
But UCO had the last rally. Bell made two free-throws, Givens sank a three, and Bell hit the dagger at the buzzer to give UCO a key road win in the MIAA.
Basey was the team's leading scorer on the night, pouring in a career-high 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting and a 3-for-6 day at the free-throw line. McDowell and Givens both had 13 points. Givens was 3-for-3 from behind the arc. Nimmer added nine and Seth Hurd scored four. Basey and McDowell led UCO with seven rebounds apiece.
The Bronchos are off for the next two weeks. UCO doesn't play again until January 4 against Central Missouri.