JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Tusculum College recovered after surrendering a 12-point second-half lead and allowing a tying three-pointer at the end of regulation to defeat Carson-Newman University 108-100 in overtime in a South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball thriller Wednesday night at Holt Fieldhouse.
Kendall Patterson scored eight of his 21 points in the extra period, including two of his six three-pointers, as the Pioneers (11-13, 7-12 SAC) moved two games ahead of Mars Hill for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference standings with three games remaining in the league schedule.
Javon Price scored 26 points and had a career-high 10 rebounds for the Pioneers while Darius Carter added 21 points and six assists as Tusculum won at Carson-Newman for the second year in a row and the 11th time in their last 14 trips to Holt Fieldhouse. The 108 points are the most ever scored by the Pioneers against the Eagles in their 140 meetings, surpassing the 103 points scored in a 1984 matchup.
Charles Clark led the Eagles (14-11, 10-9 SAC) with game highs of 33 points and 11 rebounds, including a three-pointer as time expired in regulation to knot the score at 90-90. Zack Pangallo added 20 points while Josh Rogers and Sawyer Williams had 16 points apiece for the Eagles, who shot 50.7 percent (37-for-73) from the field in the game, but just 3-for-11 in overtime.
Price, Patterson and Carter gave the Pioneers their first trio of 20-point scorers in a game since Jan. 4, 1999, when Shane Banks (27), Tim McPhail (26) and Bruno Borja (24) performed the feat against Pfeiffer. Tusculum had five players in double figures in the game, as Matt Shown finished with 11 points and Chase Mounce added 10.
The Pioneers connected on 17 three-pointers in the game, which is tied for the third-most in a game in program history and the most since making 17 against Augusta State on Dec. 30, 2004. Tusculum went 21-for-26 from the foul line in the game, while Carson-Newman hit 18 of their 30 attempts, including just 7-for-16 in the second half.
Tusculum led 87-79 with 3:22 left following two free throws from Zach Davis, but Carson-Newman cut the margin to one at 87-86 on a three-point play by Clark following a missed free throw with 43 seconds to go. Carter hit two free throws with 21 seconds left for an 89-86 Pioneer lead, and Patterson added a foul shot with 10 seconds remaining to extend the Tusculum advantage to 90-86.
Carson Brooks was fouled with two seconds left and made the first free throw to cut the margin to 90-87. He intentionally missed the second, and Rogers tapped the rebound to Clark who drilled a three-pointer as time ran out to knot the game at 90-90 and send the Pioneers to overtime for the second consecutive game.
Mounce hit two free throws on the first possession of overtime for a 92-90 Tusculum lead, but a layup by Williams and a three-point play by Clark put Carson-Newman ahead 95-92 with 4:00 left in overtime. However, Patterson hit a three-pointer to knot the contest at 95-95 with 3:29 on the clock, and Carter converted a three-point play to put the Pioneers back in front 98-95 with 2:54 to go.
Pangallo nailed a three-pointer for the Eagles to level the score at 98-98 with 2:04 remaining, but Patterson matched his season high with his sixth three-pointer of the night to give the Pioneers the lead for good at 101-98 with 1:32 remaining.
A Price basket extended the Tusculum lead to 103-98 with just under a minute to go, and the Eagles would get no closer than four points the rest of the way as Clark and Patterson combined for the Pioneers’ final 10 points of the game. Price provided the final points of the game with a dunk in the final 10 seconds to send the Pioneers home with a key conference road victory.
Neither team led by more than four points in a first half that featured six ties and 15 lead changes. Tusculum held a 53-51 advantage at the break as Price went 6-for-12 from three-point range and led all players with 21 points in the half. Clark paced the Eagles with 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting while Pangallo sank a pair of three-pointers en route to 15 first-half points.
After a Rogers basket tied the game at 55-55 early in the second half, the Pioneers went on a 14-2 run to take their largest lead of the game at 69-57 on a Shown putback with 14:21 left. Trailing 73-63 with 10:53 left, the Eagles used a 10-0 spurt to tie the game at 73-73 on a Williams layup with 8:17 to go.
However, three-pointers from the Pioneers’ Gunnar Beamer and Vincent Brown help Tusculum go back in front 79-73 with 6:46 left, and the lead would hold until Clark’s tying shot at the end of regulation.
Price finished the game 6-for-15 from three-point range for the Pioneers, while Patterson went 6-for-9 from beyond the arc. Carter was a perfect 7-for-7 from the foul line and in the process set the Tusculum career record for free-throw attempts with 553, breaking the mark of 549 set by McPhail from 1996-2000.
Shown went 4-for-5 from the field and 3-for-4 from the foul line and added five rebounds before fouling out late in the second half. Davis also fouled out of the game after contributing four points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.
Brooks had nine points and seven rebounds in 32 minutes off the bench for the Eagles, who finished the game with 17 turnovers to 14 for the Pioneers. Tusculum had a slim 44-43 advantage in rebounding over the Eagles, but were outscored in the paint by Carson-Newman by a margin of 46-26.
At 7-12 in the conference, Tusculum has a two-game lead over Mars Hill (5-14) with three games remaining in the conference schedule. The Pioneers will play at Newberry on Saturday at 4 p.m. before traveling to Mars Hill for a showdown with the Lions next Wednesday night.