Basketball is a game of runs. That was evident when the Tritons of Iowa Central visited MCC on Monday, November 26. In a game that saw both teams make big runs, it was ultimately the team who had the ball last who would win. Fortunately for Tiger fans, it was the home team that would have the ball last.
The game opened up on an exciting note for the Tigers. After the Tritons scored on their first possession, the Tigers came down court and executed a quick-hitter that saw Kelton Edwards come off of a back screen by Eduardo Lane at the top of the key. Nick Fleming found Edwards diving to the hoop for an alley-oop dunk to open the scoring for the Tigers.
While the game was close for much of the first half, the Tigers had opened up a nine point lead at 34-25 with 4:58 to play in the half. Then came a run for the Tritons. While the Tigers would be held at 34 for the remainder of the half, the visiting team went on a tear and ran off 20 straight points. Doing considerable damage from beyond the arc in the final five minutes of the half, the Tritons went into the locker room up 45-34.
Not to be shown up on their home court, the Tigers came out of intermission and responded with a run of their own. It would be over seven minutes into the second half before the Tritons would add to their score, but by that time, the Tigers had already scored twelve points. The 12-0 run by the Tigers saw them pull ahead 46-45.
The next eight minutes would see the Tritons again make a run. With 5:41 remaining in the game, Triton Head Coach, Dennis Pilcher, who's in his 40th year as Head Coach at ICCC, called a timeout with his team leading 67-59.
But the Tigers weren't done as they pulled even with the Tritons at 67-67 with 3:30 remaining. For nearly the next two minutes, it looked as though the Tritons would pull off the win on the road as they opened up a five point lead at 75-70 with just 43 seconds remaining in regulation.
A three-point shot by Kelton Edwards brought the Tigers to within two with 33 seconds left. A foul by Myles Broadie sent Collin Shannon of ICCC to the charity stripe with 32 seconds left with a chance to put the Tritons up by four. The first shot rolled around the rim and out. The second fell short and the Tigers secured the rebound down by two.
After penetration by JJ Foster from the top of the key, he found a slashing Nick Fleming who was fouled upon catching the pass. Fleming knocked down both free-throws to tie the contest at 75-75 with 23 seconds left. An interesting possession for the Tritons resulted in Royshawn Webb missing a three-point attempt with just over nine seconds remaining on the clock. The ball caromed off the rim and out of bounds to give the ball over to the Tigers with 7.9 seconds remaining on the clock.
Tiger Head Coach, Brynjar Brynjarson used his final timeout prior to inbounding the ball. An isolation drive by Nick Fleming led to a deflected ball off the Tritons with just .9 seconds on the clock. Out of timeouts, the Tigers ran a baseline out of bounds play that saw JJ Fleming find a slashing Kelton Edwards after a misdirection to the near corner. Edwards caught the ball and laid it off the glass in one motion. By the time the ball had exited the net, the game clock had hit zeros, the crowd erupted, and the Tigers had won 77-75. The win avenged an earlier 96-92 loss to the Tritons.
The game-winner by Edwards registered his 18th and 19th points of the game to lead a balanced scoring attack for the Tigers. Eduardo Lane, who dominated in the paint for stretches of the game, finished with 18 points and a tied for a team-high seven rebounds. Redshirt sophomore, Juan Coffi also finished with seven boards to go along with his eight points.
The Tigers are back in action on Wednesday, November 28 as they will again try to avenge for an early season loss, this time against Kirkwood Community College.