Thursday, Jan. 10 2013 1:00PM
Down the stretch
Tigers survive Truman in final seconds of game
By Ryan Weaver
Special to the Journal
The Lee’s Summit Tigers did just enough down the stretch to escape the Jan. 8 home game against Truman with a 69-68 win.
Matthew Crance gave the Tigers a 66-58 lead with 43.7 seconds left after draining two free throws, but the Patriots, behind Dewayne Thornton, made a charge and had a chance to tie and win in the last six seconds.
When Crance made his two free throws, the Tigers were 11-for-13. In the last 30.3 seconds, they went three-for-eight.
Thornton, who scored 25 points in the game, scored an acrobatic layup and pulled the Patriots with 66-63 with 21.8 seconds left on the clock.
Two Drew Lock free throws pushed the lead up to 68-63, but Thornton answered with a layup while getting fouled by Josh Maddox; he made the charity shot to make it 68-66.
“Defensively, we kind of got out of position a little bit,” Lee’s Summit head coach Keith Miller said. “Truman did a good job of getting to the rim and finishing some plays. They showed a lot of determination out there trying to come back and almost win. We’ve just got to do a better job managing the game down the stretch.”
Lock went back to the line and made one-of-two. Thornton again scored a layup with 5.7 seconds left and got fouled. This time, his free throw rimmed off and Alex Evans pulled down the board. Evans missed his two free throws, but the Patriots failed to get off a shot before time expired.
“I thought our effort was great,” Miller said. “I thought we played with a lot of energy offensively and defensively. Truman’s a very good basketball team and I thought we’d have to play well to win and we were able to make enough plays down the stretch to do that. So I’m really pleased with our victory.”
The Tigers trailed only once in the first quarter, getting off to a hot start from behind long range. They made eight three-pointers in the first half on 14 attempts, including four by Lock. Lock finished the game with 28 points, Grant Robbins scored 15 points and Dan McElroy added 10.
In the second quarter, Lee’s Summit started to put a little distance between the Patriots. McElroy’s second three of the quarter gave the Tigers a 30-23 lead as four different Tigers connected from deep in the half.
Taking a 39-33 advantage into halftime, the outside shooting went cold after the break. The Tigers missed all four tries from deep in the third quarter.
“Truman got up and guarded a little bit tougher, and that was good strategy from them,” Miller said. “I wanted to be a little more patient offensively. We could have shot a bunch of 3s in the second half and maybe not made any.”
The stretched Truman defense opened up some driving lanes and Lee’s Summit got buckets in transition and in the paint. The Patriots tied the game at 47-47 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, but Lock and Robbins went on a 15-8 run to push the lead up to 62-55 with 2:08 left. They kept it steady until the almost-meltdown in the last 40 seconds.