Chandler Rivers beat the final buzzer with a jump shot from just inside the free-throw line, and the Trinity Baptist College Eagles picked up a very exciting South Region victory with a 63-61 win over the Suns from Johnson University of Florida Tuesday night at home.
Rivers took the pass from Marcus Dixon with seven seconds left on the clock. He fought his way inside and got the shot off with under two seconds to go. The ball banked off the glass and fell into the net for the game-winning points.
Trinity had 14.3 seconds to get the ball down court and get off the final shot. Marquis Duncanson took the inbound pass, beat two defenders, and dished the ball to to Dixon, who found Rivers on the right sideline near mid-court.
Rivers finished the game with five points, but those final two were the biggest of the night.
Dixon led the entire field with 20 points: 9 in the first half and 11 in the second. His free throw late in the second half gave the Eagles an extra point they would need as Johnson tied the score at 61-61 with less than a minute on the clock.
Johnson came back from a 21-point deficit early in the second half thanks to Kendall Oliver (11) and and Jaymeke Smith (10), who combined for 21 second-half points. Smith’s jump shot tied the game and set up the Eagles’ final drive up the court. Smith scored all his points in the second half, and Oliver finished with 12 overall.
Trinity scored the game’s first 16 points and built a 25-point lead at the 6:32 mark of the first half. Marquel Perry drained 12 of his 14 points in the first, the bulk of them during that early run, and Dixon’s nine points and Duncanson’s eight helped Trinity to a 41-21 halftime lead. Duncanson hit a clutch free throw in the second and finished with nine on the night.
Jykayle Walker scored seven points, including 3 for 4 from the line to help the Eagles. Zack Norris sank two of Trinity’s four three-pointers (Duncanson, Perry) to total six points, and Andrew Bowman had an early basket that proved vital in the final score.
Trinity shot an incredible 53% in the first half and 46% overall on the night. The defense held Johnson to 23% shooting in the first 20 minutes, but Johnson improved to 47% in the second half while eliminating their big deficit. Trinity out-rebounded the Suns 47-32, and each team stole seven possessions from the opposition.
Josh Grover led the Suns with 16 points, eight in each half, and hit two three-pointers during the Suns’ comeback run. McShawn Williams had six, Jon Baker scored five, Oscar Duzanson and Mike Levy each tallied four, and Phil LeGrier added two.
The Eagles will next play on Saturday when Piedmont International University comes to Trinity. The men’s game tips off at 4:00 p.m. EST, following the women’s game at 2:00. The next three are on the road, including South Region games at Pensacola Christian College on January 3 and Trinity College of Florida on January 6. The next home game is against Pensacola Christian on February 13.
–Raymond Bureau, TBC