San Antonio – Marcus Hill’s shot at the buzzer was just off and St. Edward’s University edged St. Mary’s University 59-58 in a thrilling Heartland Conference men’s basketball game Saturday night at Bill Greehey Arena.
The shot culminated an amazing final few minutes that saw the Rattlers rally to take the lead in the second, then fall behind by five with just 10 seconds left before nearly rallying for the win.
With St. Mary’s leading by three coming out of the locker room at halftime, St. Edward’s quickly took control and reclaimed the lead at 32-30 on a Shawn Weinstein jumper with 15:16 remaining. That lead expanded to six points at 40-34 with 10:20 to play. The Rattlers tied the game on a Hill (Sr., Longview) lay-up with 6:16 left. St. Edward’s rebounded by taking a six-point lead again on a Daniel Pierre layup with 3:57 to play.
Again, the Rattlers rallied and Nick Morey (Jr., Belpre, Ohio) tied the game again at 51-51 with 1:38 to play. After Pierre gave the Hilltoppers a two-point lead with a pair of made free throws with 1:12 left, Robert Owens (Jr., Oakwood) hit a layup off an offensive rebound to tie the game at 53-53 with 49 seconds remaining. Weinstein again gave the Hilltoppers the lead at 54-53 when he made one-of-two free throws. He grabbed the rebound off his miss and was fouled again with 30 seconds left. He made both free throws to make it a three-point game. After a missed Hill three-pointer, Taylor Land hit a pair of free throws to seemingly put the game away with 10 seconds left.
But Rod Bellard (Jr., Beaumont) hit two free throws with seven seconds left and Jannik Zimmerman made just one-of-two free throws to make it a four-point game with six seconds left. Bellard came down and quickly hit the first three-pointer of the game for the Rattlers with 0.8 seconds left to cut the deficit to one point at 59-58. Then Andrew Nagel’s inbound pass was thrown out of bounds and the Rattlers had one last chance. The inbound to Hill was good and his shot looked to be going in, but bounded off both sides of the rim and was no good.
Owens led the Rattlers with 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field. Hill also reached double figures with 11 points. The Rattlers Achilles heel was at the free throw line as they hit on just 11-of-24 shots, despite shooting 47.9 percent (23-48) from the field.
Weinstein led the Hilltoppers with 20 points, while Pierre added 14. SEU shot 41.7 percent from the field in the game (20-48) and outrebounded the Rattlers 37-29.
With the loss the Rattlers have dropped two in row and are 11-10 overall and 4-3 in Heartland Conference play. SEU is now 16-5 and 6-1. St. Mary’s will return to action on Thursday when they travel to Goodwell, Okla., to face Oklahoma Panhandle State University at 8 p.m. in a Heartland Conference matchup.