BEREA, KY – The men's basketball team grabbed a one point victory over the Wilberforce University Bulldogs in double overtime this afternoon.
The Mountaineers got off to a slow start with the Bulldogs going on a 10-0 run to start the half, holding Berea scoreless for almost five minutes. With just over 15 minutes remaining, Richard Parker drove the lane to give the Mountaineers their first points of the day. Not long after, Corey Wise was able to hit a shot, making the score 10-4, with the advantage in favor of the Bulldogs, who showed no signs of slowing down. After Wilberforce hit a shot from behind the arc, Berea went on a 6-0 run of their own with the assistance of made shots by Wise, Tyler Huff, and Anthony Myrks. Those baskets brought the Mountaineers within three, 13-10, with 9:28 remaining in the half. With the Bulldogs continuing to put points on the board, the Mountaineers were focused on trying to stay within reach. At the under 7:00 mark the score was 22-16 in favor of Wilberforce, who then went on another run, this time for six points, making the score 28-16. Unwilling to give up, Berea added 4 points to their total, 28-20, off of a Gabe Hinton made free throw and three-pointer from Dyonta Bizzle-Brown. The teams then exchanged two sets of made free throws until the 1:30 mark when Wise put in a lay-up, followed by Dyllan Harper grabbing a rebound and getting the put-back, which brought the Mountaineers within four points of the Bulldogs. Berea ended the first half scoring six unanswered points, but still trailing Wilberforce by four, 32-28.
The second half began with two straight Mountaineer baskets, coming from Wise and Ethan Harris, bringing on the first tie of the game, 32-32. Wilberforce was then able to counter with two made shots, putting them back up by four,36-32. Over the course of the next five minutes, the teams battled back and forth, each adding points, most of which came from free throws. At the 13:24 mark, Huff sunk his two foul shots to, once again, tie the game. After Wilberforce knocked down another two-pointer, Myrks had the answer for Berea, taking the ball to the basket for two. On Berea's next possession, Huff hit a three to give the Mountaineers their first lead of the night. With right around 10:00 remaining, Harper put the ball in the net for the Mountaineers, which was followed up by a made shot for Myrks, putting Berea up by five, 49-44, which was their largest lead of the night. At the 4:29 mark, Wilberforce hit two free throws to bring them back within one, 52-51. Unhappy with the Bulldogs closing in, Parker drained a three, giving the Mountaineers a four point advantage, 55-51. With 1:35 remaining, Wilberforce hit a shot to regain a one point lead, 57-56. The Mountaineers were put back on top by a three point play for Wise, 59-57, with 44 seconds left in regulation. The Bulldogs made a shot from behind the arc, putting them back on top, 60-59. The last point of the half was a made foul shot by Wise, tying the game at 60. After the made free throw, Wilberforce got the ball back with 12 seconds remaining in regulation but the winning shot attempt for the Bulldogs was blocked by Bizzle-Brown, sending the game into overtime.
Overtime began with two made free throws from Wise, creating a two point Mountaineer lead, 62-60. Berea took advantage of a pair of missed Wilberforce foul shots with Bizzle-Brown hitting a shot and opening up a four point lead. The Bulldogs then hit a three-pointer to bring them back within one, 64-63. With 2:10 left to play, Bizzle-Brown scored again to make the score 66-63. Wilberforce was then able to hit another three to tie the game at 66. Myrks was able to break the tie by sinking his free throws at the 1:35 mark after he was fouled trying to drive the lane. Wilberforce tied it back up with a two point field goal, 68 all. Wise was then fouled, sending him to the free throw line, where he made both, putting Berea back on top by two. Wilberforce was then fouled and they made both shots, tying the game at 70, which is where the score would stay as the clock expired, forcing a second overtime.
Similar to the first OT, Wise once again kicked off the scoring for the Mountaineers, hitting the first shot, 72-70. With 4:30 remaining, a Wilberforce player was fouled shooting a shot from behind the arc, which led to him hitting all three foul shots, giving Wilberforce the one point advantage, 73-72. Wise then hit another shot, but it was followed up by a made shot from the Bulldogs to take back the lead, 75-74. Berea kept battling and Parker got himself open, hitting another clutch three-point shot, which allowed the Mountaineers to regain a two point lead. Myrks then hit a free throw, which was followed by a made basket for Wilberforce, leading to a score of 78-77, advantage Berea. Harris was able to add two more points to the score, but once again, the Bulldogs had an answer with 1:23 left to play, 80-79, still in favor of the Mountaineers. With 1:04 on the clock, Bizzle-Brown was fouled and made one shot from the stripe to stretch the lead to two, 81-79. Wilberforce then hit a three to take the lead, 82-81. With the pressure mounting and the clock winding down, Myrks was able to find Bizzle-Brown, who put the ball in the basket to give the Mountaineers a one-point lead. With a few seconds remaining, Berea's defense held strong and Wilberforce was unable to score, allowing the Mountaineers to come out on top, 83-82.
The game was tied on 12 separate occasions and had 10 lead changes. The Mountaineers were led in scoring, rebounds and assists by Corey Wise, who had 24, 12 and 6, respectively. Berea had three other players in double digits, Parker (19), Myrks (12) and Bizzle-Brown (10).
Berea's record moves to 12-7 and the team will be back in action at home on Friday, February 5th when they will take on USCAA opponent the University of Cincinnati-Clermont as they hope to move closer to gaining a bid to the USCAA National Championship Tournament. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 8:00 PM.