Sunday, December 19, 2010

Newman Survives McPherson for Fifth-Straight Win, 89-87

WICHITA - Keaton Schultz drained five-straight free throws in the final two seconds of overtime as the Newman men's basketball team stole an 89-87 overtime win over McPherson Saturday evening inside Fugate Gymnasium. Schultz finished with a team-high 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Jets' first double-double of the season.

Newman (8-4) trailed 84-87 after McPherson's Aaron Jackson hit the second of a two-shot free throw opportunity with eight seconds to play. On the ensuing possession, Schultz attempted to tie the game and force a second overtime with two seconds remaining. Schultz was fouled on the three-point attempt by Jackson, who was then issued a technical foul for comments made to an official. That resulted in five free throw opportunities for Schultz, who entered the game shooting 85.7 percent from the free throw line. Schultz converted all charity shots to give the Jets an 89-87 lead. A last second desperation heave was off target, and the Jets escaped with its fifth-straight win.

McPherson (7-7) gave Newman all it wanted and then some in the first half. After watching the Jets jump out to an early 5-2 lead, Aaron Jackson's trey tied the game at 5-5 with 15:23 still to play. The Jets countered with four-straight points, including Luke Barnwell's first points of the season, and took a 9-5 lead at the 14:38 mark, but the NAIA Bulldogs would not go away. Over the next six minutes, McPherson forced two ties, and took their first lead after a Joey Powers jumper that gave the Bulldogs a 30-29 lead with 4:41 to play in the opening half. Powers' jumper was the first of nine-straight Bulldog points that allowed McPherson to take a 39-30 lead with 1:50 still to play. Newman ended the half on a 5-3 run, but it was McPherson that held the 42-35 lead at halftime.

The Bulldogs took their first 10-point lead of the game on their fifth possession of the second half when Samson Shivers nailed a triple to boost his team's lead to 47-37. McPherson led by at least seven until Tyler Nordman's trey pulled Newman to within six, 51-45, at the 15:15 mark. Powers drained another three on McPherson's next possession and pushed the Bulldog lead back to nine, but Newman responded with an 11-0 run, capped by another Nordman trey, that gave Newman a 58-54 lead with 10:45 remaining. Newman held the lead for most of the rest of the final period, and led by as many as nine after a William Burdette free throw gave the Jets a 74-65 lead with 4:54 remaining in the contest. McPherson wasn't quite done. A pair of Mason Hewitt free throws sparked a 9-2 McPherson run that pulled the Bulldogs to within two, 76-74, with 2:08 remaining on the clock. Hewitt hit two more free throws with 16 seconds to play to complete the comeback, and tied the game at 79-79 with 16 seconds remaining. Both teams missed potential game-winners in the final seconds of the contest, and Newman was forced to deal with its fifth overtime contest of the season.

McPherson made the first move in the overtime period, opening the frame with five-straight points after a pair of Aaron Frazier free throws gave the Bulldogs an 84-79 lead with 3:37 still to play. Newman answered with five-unanswered points of their own, and forced an 84-84 tie after Burdette converted an old-fashioned three-point play with just under two minutes remaining. The Bulldogs answered with Trent Severs' first points of the night, and took an 86-84 lead with 27 ticks remaining. Aaron Jackson extended that lead to 87-84 after a free throw before Schultz was fouled and hit five-straight free throws to give Newman the win.

Schultz's 25 points and 10 rebounds were both team-highs. William Burdette, Tyler Nordman, and Mason Felter each added 11 points, while Chip Steven finished with 10 points in the win. Eric Saunders was held scoreless in the game, but contributed six assists and five steals, leading the Jets in both categories.

McPherson's Aaron Frazier led all scorers with 26 points.

With the win, the Jets improve to 7-4 on the season. They will enjoy a two-week break before returning to action on Jan. 3 when they travel to Wichita Falls, Texas, to take on nationally-ranked Midwestern State.

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