Indianapolis, IN. – It appeared IUPUI might have given away another home conference game. Leading by one, they gave up an easy dunk with six seconds left and nearly turned the ball over on their own end. Evan Hall came up with the ball though and put up a shot just as the clock hit zero. The point-blank shot banked in and gave IUPUI the 72-71 win.
Hall only finished with four points, but his game winning shot capped off a strong performance that included nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Aaron Brennan and Ron Patterson, meanwhile, had strong offensive outings with four three-pointers each. Brennan finished with 22 points, including two 3-pointers to open up the game, and Patterson finished with 12.
Brennan’s two 3-pointers to open the game set the tone for the Jaguars. They were lights out from long range shooting 14-for-25. Their 14 made 3-pointers and 56-percent shooting from range were both season highs, ironic given they came in a game that was won with a buzzer-beating layup. To add to the irony, IUPUI was just 11-for-30 from two-point range and were outscored 36-20 in the paint.
IUPUI trailed much of the second half, but retook the lead with six minutes to go. After some back and forth, the game was tied at 67 with under 90 seconds left. Patterson had the ball at the top of the key. His defender backed off a hair too much and Patterson drained a three from 25 feet. Milwaukee quickly countered with a dunk and called timeout. Rogers set up the offense out of the inbound and drove to his right. He drew a double team and passed out to Brennan at the top of the arc for an open three. Brennan missed and Milwaukee got the rebound and called timeout.
The Panthers finished the game over 50 percent shooting, but on their final possession, IUPUI was swarming. With just 21 seconds to go and IUPUI up 70-69, Milwaukee couldn’t get a good shot up. With ten seconds to go, Jeremiah Bell got into the lane, but his shot was blocked by Hall. Unfortunately for IUPUI, their defense was undone by a lucky bounce on the rebound to Brett Prahl who had an open dunk. Only six seconds were on the clock, but IUPUI hustled down court and Rogers drove to his right. He passed it into a congested paint area to Hall, who couldn’t catch the ball cleanly. He eventually came up with it though and put up the game-winning shot before running over to hug his embattled coach.
It wasn’t clear though if the shot was up in time, but as expected, each team’s bench was confident they’d won. The referees went to the sideline to review the play. The replay on the screen drew cheers from each team’s fans depending on the angle. After several minutes, the referees finally confirmed the basket counted and the fans erupted.
It’s very easy to see how this team could be 0-5 and they were 0.1 seconds away from being 1-4. Instead, Hall got the shot off in time. Instead of a 1-4 team that could easily be 0-5, they’re a 2-3 team that could easily be 3-2. If it weren’t for an absolutely dreadful stretch in their previous game against UIC, they would be 3-2. The lesson was learned though and IUPUI never lost their intensity in this one.
The Jaguars will have a quick turnaround with just one day off before the face Green Bay for the second time. They won on the road against Green Bay 67-63 back on January 2 to earn their first Horizon League win. They’ll be looking to even their record at 3-3 and sweep Green Bay on Friday.