Riverside, CA - In what is being referred to as one of the most exciting basketball games at the Alumni Pavilion, the Golden Eagles men's basketball team was able to pull out the back-and-forth battle, against Oakwood University (Huntsville, Ala.), 79-77, in overtime.
In the first half, La Sierra jumped out to an early, yet modest, 12-7 lead. By the end of the first half the Golden Eagles held onto a slim 28-27 lead.
Early in the second half, La Sierra extended their lead to 11 points with over 16 minutes to play in the game. But the Ambassadors would chip away and eventually take the lead with just over seven minutes remaining. Oakwood extended their lead to 68-60, their largest lead of the game, with 1:39 remaining in the game.
On their next possession, the Bennett Shaw found Isaiah Hawkins in the corner for an open three, cutting the lead to 63-68. After Oakwood turned the ball over on a 3-second call, the Golden Eagles broke the full-court pressure, as Hawkins found himself with a 2-on-1 when he lobbed the ball up to Carleton Coleman who finished the play off with a thunderous slam dunk, cutting further into the lead 65-68.
After a timeout, the Golden Eagles extended their defense and nearly stole the ball in the inbounds, but Javion Garner was called for the foul. On the play, Oakwood guard Ronnie Clack was injured on the play and had to leave the game. By rule, La Sierra was able to choose which player would enter the game to shoot the free throws. The Ambassadors subsequently missed both free throws giving the Golden Eagles life. With the game clock running down freshmen guard Marcos Hazelwood was fouled on a 3-point attempt, with 4.7 seconds left in the game. Hazelwood calmly stepped to the line and knocked down the free-throws to tie the game at 68-68, sending the game into overtime.
In the overtime period, each team had their share of the lead, but despite some missed free-throws that could have sealed the victory, a missed three-pointer at the buzzer rattled off of the rim, securing the victory for La Sierra.
The Golden Eagles had four players score in double figures led by Shaw and Bennett who each scored 20 points. Coleman had a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Hazelwood rounded out the scoring with 11 points in the game.
La Sierra pushes their record to 3-8 on the season. They will play their second of three consecutive games tomorrow afternoon, when they host Pacific Union College at 6pm.
NOTE: In the other men's game Andrews defeated Pacific Union College, 70-55.