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Tusculum drops last second heart-breaker 100-97 in overtime to Coker

Tusculum drops last second heart-breaker 100-97 in overtime to Coker

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Coker's Donte Samuels the game-winning three-pointer with 0.4 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Cobras to a 100-97 South Atlantic Conference win at Tusculum Wednesday night at Pioneer Arena.

Samuels heroics followed Peyton Woods' three made free throws with 7.2 seconds left in the extra period to tie the score at 97-97. With no timeouts remaining, Samuels dribbled the distance of the floor and pulled up from the right wing where he drained the 23-footer for his lone made trey of the evening.                                 

Samuels led all scored with 25 points, while teammates Khalil Halls and LaDarius Williams added 23 and 20 points, respectively for the Cobras (5-6, 2-1 SAC).

Tusculum senior Ronnie Baylark led the Pioneers (3-7, 1-3 SAC) with 23 points off the bench as he went 7-of-14, with three 3-points and went 6-of-7 at the free throw line before fouling out with 1:12 left in overtime.  Donovan Donaldson added 18 points, eight assists and four steals, while Woods tallied 17 points.  Sophomore Caleb Hodnett had another stellar outing as he tallied career highs with 15 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out 30 seconds into the extra frame.

The game saw 15 ties and 10 lead changes, including 11 ties and seven lead changes in the second half and overtime combined.

Tusculum jumped out to a 24-12 lead midway through the first half before the Cobras responded with a 21-7 run to take the lead at 34-31 with 2:28 left on the scoreboard.  Tusculum would regain the lead with five straight points, including a pair of free throws from Hunter Parrish with 57 seconds left.  Samuels tied the game 13 seconds later with a jumper as the two teams headed to the locker room deadlocked at 36-36.

Coker opened the second period with a 7-2 run to take its largest lead of the game at 43-38 following a three-pointer from Halls.  Baylark answered with a three-point play to cut the lead to two, but Demarco Jackson would score a layup on a steal to push the lead to 45-41 with 15:25 left in regulation.  TC rookie Zailan Peeler nailed a trey to cut the deficit to one (45-44) but back-to-back baskets from Williams, including a dunk with 14:28 left gave the Cobras a five-point lead again at 49-44.

Tusculum made its biggest run of the night when the Black & Orange erupted for a 15-2 spurt over a 4:10 span to lead 59-51 following a dunk from junior Zach Hartle with 10:18 left in regulation.

The Cobras trimmed the deficit to one on two occasions over the next 4:10 thanks to a pair of treys from Halls and a 3-pointer from Jake Barrett.  With TC holding onto a 66-65 lead with 6:08 left, the Pioneers scored eight straight including a Malik Tyree layup and trifectas from Woods and Hodnett gave TC its largest lead of the half at 74-65 with 4:54 remaining.

But Coker wouldn't go away as the Cobras used an 11-2 run as Samuels made four free throws and Barrett tallied five markers, including his layup with 2:50 to go to tie the game at 76-76.

Hartle made a layup to give TC a 78-76 lead, but Williams tied the game with his two free throws with 1:46 to go as the fray was deadlocked at 78-78.

Woods connected on two more free throws to retake the lead, but Williams scored on a layup to the game's eighth tie at 80-80.  Jackson came up with a steal for Coker and Barrett made a layup to give Coker its first lead (82-80) since the 12:46 mark of the second half.

Donaldson tied the game at 82-82 with his two free throws with 1:10 left, but Samuels came through with a clutch jumper for an 84-82 lead with 47.4 seconds to go.

Donaldson dribbled down the lane and whipped a laser pass to Baylark on the right wing where he nailed the go-ahead three-pointer with 32.7 seconds on the clock and an 85-84 lead.

After a Coker timeout, Samuels was forced into an off-balanced jumper from 17-feet out, but Williams came up with the offensive rebound and was fouled with 3.4 seconds left. He missed the first free throw, but made the second to tie the game at 85-85.  Baylark got a good look at the potential game-winner, but his three-point attempt clanged off the rim as the contest went to overtime.

Donaldson scored a layup to get the overtime period started, but Samuels converted a three-point play to give Coker the lead with 4:30 left in the frame. 

Baylark made a pair of free throws to give the Pioneers an 89-88 lead and after a Coker turnover, Baylark made two more free throws as TC led 91-88 with 3:25 left on the scoreboard.

Both teams came up empty on their next possessions before Barrett converted a three-point play with 2:32 left to tie the game at 91-91.  Baylark scored on a layup to give TC the lead again at 93-91 with 2:10 to go. 

Neither team would score over the next 58 seconds before Williams grabbed a rebound off a Samuels miss and was fouled by Baylark for his fifth personal of the game.  Williams made both free throws again to tie the game for a 14th time at 93-93 with 1:12 left in overtime.

TC freshman Brandon Mitchell was fouled with 54.5 seconds left.  He missed the first, but made the second as TC led 94-93.  Halls erased that lead with his 26-foot three-pointer with 49.7 seconds remaining as Coker led 96-94.

TC missed a jumper with 30 seconds left and was rebounded by Coker. But Donovan came up with the steal and went to the bucket but his layup attempt was no good as he went to the floor hard.  Barrett, who was on the defensive play on Donovan, came down with the rebound and was fouled. Barrett made one of two free throws for a 97-94 Coker lead with 19 seconds left.

After a Tusculum timeout, the Pioneers got the ball to Woods, who was fouled in the act of shooting with 7.2 seconds left as he went to the free throw line for three.  He made all of them to tie the game at 97-97 to set the stage for Samuels and his late-game heroics.

Both teams committed 23 turnovers each.  Coker converted those miscues into 29 points, while the Pioneers scored 21 points off of Cobra turnovers.  Coker out-rebounded TC 48-41, including 17-11 on the offensive glass.

Coker finished the game shooting 46.8 percent, including 4-of-8 in the overtime.  TC shot 44.1 percent, but went 2-of-6 in OT, including 0-of-2 from three-point land.  Both teams each connected on 10 treys as Coker went 10-of-27 (37%) while TC went 10-of-35 (28.6%).  Coker went 16-of-26 at the free throw line (61.5%) while the Pioneers shot 27-of-35 (77.1%) at the charity stripe.

Coker tallied 15 steals in the game, while the Pioneer had eight.

Tusculum returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Wingate for a 4 p.m. contest at Cuddy Arena.

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