Published On: Tue, Jan 17th, 2017

Fighting Knights Victorious in Overtime Thriller

By: Michael Demyan

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Kevin O’Brien running past the Tampa defense. He finished with a career-high 23 points. Photo Credit: Victoria Alvarez, Lynn Athletic Communications

The Lynn University Fighting Knights took the game into overtime to win 90-85 against Tampa on Saturday after tying the game with an 18-2 run in the final minutes of regulation.

Things were not looking good for the Fighting Knights as Tampa jumped out to a quick 20-3 lead to start off the game. By the end of the half, the Fighting Knights were shooting only 7-of-27 from the field. Their 23 points were the lowest to start a game since 2015.

Tampa’s Mekhi Biffle tried to set the tone in the second half by sinking a jump shot to extend the lead to 40-23, but Marquan Botley responded with two straight three-pointers to cut the lead down to 11.

The three-pointers were keeping them within a distant reach as they connected a total of 16 times from behind the arc compared to nine from Tampa, but as the minutes began winding down, Tampa still held onto a 12-point lead after a basket with 2:18 left on the clock.

That was the last shot they made in the half though and in less than a minute, Juwan Frazier, Botley and Kevin O’Brien combined for three consecutive three-pointers to bring the Fighting Knights to within three points with 1:11 remaining.

After a timeout with 20 seconds left in the game, Botley passed to Frazier who made the team’s fourth straight three-pointer with nine seconds on the clock and tied the game at 73.

Tampa’s Alberto Moreno missed a layup on their last possession of regulation which put the game into overtime.

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Darius James going for the basket. He finished with 15 points. Photo Credit: Victoria Alvarez, Lynn Athletic Communications

“I thought we just fought back really, really, extremely hard in the last three minutes of the game,” O’Brien said. “We just really focused on defense and just got a bunch of stops and knocked down some big shots.”

Neither team scored until 3:18 were left in overtime. Austin Rettig finally got Tampa on the board first with a layup, but Frazier answered back with a three-pointer during their next possession to give the Fighting Knights their first lead of the game at 76-75.

After a missed three from Tampa’s Marcel Robinson, Frazier connected for another three-pointer to extend the lead to four.

The Fighting Knight’s offense continued to surge as back to back successful trips to the free throw line from Darius James and O’Brien gave them an 83-75 lead with 52 seconds remaining.

A three-pointer from Tampa’s Freddy Ibrahim with 11 seconds left was not enough and the Fighting Knights held onto the lead to win 90-85.

“It was such a team effort just to step up in the second half and just pull this one out,” O’Brien said. “That was a great team we just beat over there and it’s a big time conference win defending the house.”

O’Brien led the team with a career-high 23 points coming off the bench. 21 of those came after the first half.

“I just thought my teammates did an excellent job just putting me in good spots,” he said.

James (15), Botley (14) and Terrell Rogers (10) also ended the game with double-digit points for the Fighting Knights and Vieux Kande recorded his eighth game of the season with 10 or more rebounds.

Tampa’s Robinson led both teams with 30 points after making his first five three-point attempts.

The Fighting Knights have now won eight of their past nine games and their record sits at 10-5. Their next game is at Rollins tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

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  1. Just read the article by Michael Demyan on the Fighting Knights and was quite impressed. It made me feel like I was actually at the game. Great reporting. I will be looking forward to more of Michael Demyan articles

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