FREEBURG — The Marquette Catholic Explorers exacted a little revenge on the Civic Memorial Eagles on Tuesday and they did it in dramatic fashion.
The Explorers won 61-60 in double overtime at the Freeburg-Columbia Holiday Tournament at Freeburg High, avenging a 57-54 loss to the Eagles on Nov. 29 in Bethalto. With the win, Marquette improved to 10-2 on the season and 2-0 in pool play in Freeburg. CM dipped to 9-4 overall and 2-1 in pool play in the tournament.
“It felt good,” Explorers' head coach Steve Medford said of the win. “We knew if we were down 10 this was the type of team that was going to keep shooting the ball and had a chance to come back. You never take a break against them and that's exactly what happened, but it's a huge win for us. We've got a young group and they needed that really bad.”
The biggest sequence of the game happened towards the end of the third quarter. Marquette had led by as much as 14 points at 31-17 with 4:21 to play in the third and was up 37-25 with 1:13 to play after a Nick Hemann score when CM awoke.
The Eagles got a traditional 3-point play from David Lane and two free throws from Geoffrey Withers to cut it to 37-30 entering the fourth quarter. That ignited a 12-0 run by the Eagles which ended at the 5:27 mark of the fourth on a trey by Caden Clark to tie the game at 37-37.
That was the first time CM had drawn even with the Explorers since the close of the first quarter when it was tied 8-8.
Eagles' head coach Doug Carey was pleased to see the fight out of his squad, especially in that series to get back in the game.
“In the first half we were really awful, but in the second half we were really good,” Carey said. “It was a tale of two halves. In that first half Marquette took it to us, but in the second half we came out and played the way we were supposed to play.”
CM took the lead at the 3:48 mark of the fourth quarter — it's first lead since midway through the first quarter — on a bucket by Clark. The 5-foot-10 junior guard had 8 of 16 points in the fourth quarter to spur the Eagles. He and senior guard David Lane were big down the stretch. They both scored 16 to tie for the scoring lead for CM.
“They both made some big plays,” Carey said. “There were a lot of times where we had to score in the second half and the overtime, got down three, got down five and we actually came up and made some plays, but we missed some shots, too. We had our ups and downs for sure.”
Marquette point guard Sammy Green came up big for his squad down the stretch. Green, who hadn't scored before the fourth quarter, finished with 10 points, including 5 in the fourth quarter, a 3-pointer early and a bucket with 12 seconds left to knot it at 44-44 and send the game to overtime.
Jake Hall also stepped up in the fourth quarter and OT for the Explorers, scoring 8 of his 14 in the final three frames.
“We need those guys to step up a little more,” Medford said of Green and Hall, two transfers to Marquette this season. “We haven't really found an identity yet. Is it Isaiah Ervin? He was great at times and late there it was Green and Hall. Both those guys hit some clutch shots for us and we executed some things down the stretch, really late, to kind of seal the game.”
The first OT was a seesaw battle, with Green nailing a 3-pointer with 41 seconds to go to give the Explorers a 50-47 edge. That's when CM's Geoffrey Withers kept his team alive.
Withers had missed a trey to win it at the end of regulation and missed two free throws in OT, but with 10 seconds to go the 6-4, junior forward drained a 3-pointer to tie it at 50-50 and force a second OT.
“He made a big three there to tie it up in the first overtime,” Carey said. “He's capable of doing that. He hasn't been shooting well all year and I was kind of surprised he took it, but he knocked it down and he had the green light just like all the other guys.”
Clark opened the second OT with another trey to give CM a 53-50 lead and the seesaw battle continued.
The Eagles led 58-57 after a traditional 3-point play by Lane with 36.4 seconds to go, but Hall scored in the lane with 12 seconds left and Green buried a pair from the charity stripe with 5.3 seconds to go to put the Explorers up 61-58.
Clark got the ball for the final drive for the Eagles, racing the length of the floor, scoring on a layup to cut it to 61-60, but unfortunately time expired on the play, giving Marquette the win.
“Time and score, he's got to know that,” Carey said. “He just made a mistake is all.”
The leading scorer for the game was the sophomore Ervin for the Explorers. He scored a game-high 20 points, with 15 of them coming in the second quarter. He was 3-of-5 from beyond the arc in the second stanza.
“His nickname is Buckets, because that's exactly what he gives you,” Medford said of Ervin. “He's a dynamic player and his upside is going to be amazing and we're excited about him being in our program.”
Now Marquette readies for its second game of the day against the host Midgets. After a double overtime battle, Medford knows it's going to be a tough task.
“This (CM) game should have been played at 6:30 on a Wednesday night if we're going to be in the same pool,” Medford said. “It's unfortunate that we have to play at noon on a Tuesday. I'd gather this is one of the best games in the tournament you'll see. It's unfortunate that's the way it is and we have to turn around and play Freeburg tonight, so I'm not excited about the scheduling, but it is what it is, everybody has to play two games in one day. We'll see what happens.”
FREEBURG-COLUMBIA HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
MARQUETTE 61, CM 60, DOUBLE OT
Explorers 8 15 14 7 6 11 — 61
Eagles 8 5 17 14 6 10 — 60
Explorers (10-2) — Bryce Pettiford 5, Sammy Green 10, Reagan Snider 6, Jake Hall 14, Isaiah Ervin 20, Nick Hemann 6. 2FG — 18 3FG — 7 FT — 4 PF — 16.
Eagles (9-4) — Caden Clark 16, Jaxsen Helmkamp 11, David Lane 16, Jaquan Adams 8, Geoffrey Withers 9. 2FG — 15 3FG — 6 FT — 12 PF — 9.
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