In a game roaring with activity, a player standing still finally settled the score.
Bernard Samuel made one of two free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining to lift the University of the Cumberlands to a 116-115 victory in five overtimes at Campbellsville University on Thursday night.
With three games remaining in the regular season, the victory kept the Patriots (21-5, 7-4) in the hunt for the Mid-South Conference championship. Cumberlands, ranked No. 10 in NAIA Division I, is in third place in the MSC behind Life (10-2) and Georgetown (8-3). Campbellsville fell to 12-12 overall and 3-7.
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Neither program had ever gone beyond three overtimes.
That all changed Thursday night because Campbellsville refused to let go of the rope.
The Tigers, who erased a 23-point deficit to defeat Cumberlands last season, trailed 69-59 with 4:35 remaining in regulation Thursday and set forth on producing another stunning comeback.
Jalen Coates scored seven of his team-high 27 points in those closing minutes, including a floater in the lane with 14 seconds left that tied things at 70 and forced overtime.
Cumberlands got out quickly in the first two overtimes, but Cumberlands overcame first a four-point deficit, then a six-point crater to knot the score 86-86 entering the third OT.
Each team scored seven in the third overtime, then 13 in the fourth to arrive at OT No. 5 tied at 106.
With three players having fouled out and a fourth to come, Cumberlands was running out of extra periods. Dez Marshall (Collins) seized the day for the Patriots by scoring their first seven points of the fifth overtime, and Cumberlands led 111-108 with 1:47 remaining.
Campbellsville’s Hagen Tyler (Boyle County) answered with one of his game-high four three-point baskets. Later, two free throws by Cumberlands’ Will Gary (Paul Laurence Dunbar) and a put-back by Campbellsville’s Elliott Young (Bullitt East) locked it up 115-115 with 41 seconds to play.
After a Cumberlands turnover, Campbellsville played for the last shot. Tyler’s shot missed the mark. Samuel grabbed the rebound for Cumberlands and was fouled by Byron Dean just before time expired. The officials put 0.4 seconds back on the clock and awarded Samuel two free throws. Samuel missed the first but made the second to at last secure victory for the Patriots.
Chance Morton led the charge for Cumberlands, making 16 of 24 shots from the field and scoring 34 points to go along with 15 rebounds.
Five overtimes produced some unusual numbers:
▪ Tyler played all 65 minutes for Campbellsville, finishing with 22 points. Erik Kinney (24 points) played 61 minutes and Coates 60.
▪ Samuel and Eddie Tornes each played 53 minutes to lead Cumberlands.
▪ Three Campbellsville players attempted 20 or more field goals.
▪ The Tigers took 96 shots, including 31 three-pointers, and also amassed 35 free throws.
▪ The Patriots attemped 84 field goals, 20 of them three-point tries, and took 43 foul shots.
▪ The Cumberlands bench outscored Campbellsville’s 44-8.
Cumberlands now has a week to rest up before hosting Lindsey Wilson on Feb. 16.
Campbellsville goes right back to work, playing host to Pikeville on Saturday at 4 p.m.