Shenandoah Stings Men's Basketball in Final Minute of 2012 Opener, 81-77
ROANOKE, Va. - Despite herculean performances from junior Will Gates and sophomore Jay Kober (pictured), the Swarthmore College men's basketball team (1-8) dropped a barnburner to Shenandoah University in the opening game of the Morris Cregger Invitational from Roanoke College, as the Hornets (2-9) completed a 5-0 run over the game's final 38 seconds to defeat the Garnet 81-77 on Monday afternoon.
Gates recorded a team-high 27 points, season-high 11 rebounds and career-high seven three pointers while Kober tallied a season-high 22 points and finished a perfect 9-of-9 from the free-throw line. The double-double for Gates was his first of the early season and his seven three pointers equals the most made by any player in the Centennial Conference this season.
Shenandoah's Avery Green led all scorers with 29 points, including what proved to be the game-winning jumper with :18 seconds left in the game. The Hornets pulled out the victory thanks to their sharp shooting, hitting 50 percent of shots from the floor (31-of-62) and 42 percent from behind the arc (8-of-19).
Featuring nine ties and 10 lead changes, it was anyone's game over the final 10 minutes of play, with neither team taking more than a one-possession lead until the waning seconds. Buoyed by three-consecutive three-pointers from Gates (2) and Kober as well as a dunk from sophomore Davis Ancona, Swarthmore held the game's largest lead at 58-48 with 14 minutes to play. The Garnet's advantage quickly evaporated, as the Shenandoah erased the deficit thanks to a 12-3 run that set the stage the dramatic final 10 minutes of play.
With game tied 69-69 and just under five minute to play, the Garnet recaptured the lead on Kober's third three-pointer of the game, putting Swat ahead 72-69. Thanks to four free throws and a clutch trey from George Williams, the Hornets went back on top 76-74 with 1:38 to play.
Following empty possessions from both teams, Kober came through in the clutch for the Garnet once again, drawing a foul on a three pointer with just 38 seconds to play. Kober buried all three fouls shots as part of his perfect day at the line, giving the Garnet a 77-76 lead.
Just 38 seconds from the title game, the Garnet had its victory snatched away by Shenandoah's star player. Green nailed what proved to be the game-winning jumper with :18 seconds to play, putting the Hornets on top 78-77. Following a pair of Garnet turnovers in the final 10 seconds, Green put the game on ice by sinking a pair of foul shots with :02 seconds left to bring the game to the 81-77 final.
Sophomore Jordan Federer scored 12 points, dished out a team-high four assists and was a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. As a team, the Garnet finished the game shooting 84 percent from the free-throw line (16-of-19).
With his 27-point performance, Gates has moved into 13th place in all-time scoring in program history (1,057), eclipsing Matt Kurman '08 and Michael Greenstone '91.
Freshman Matt Sharma finished with a game-high four blocks.
Swarthmore closes out the Morris Cregger Invitational tomorrow against the loser of Roanoke and Kenyon. The time has yet to be determined.