DALLAS (PA) – Misericordia's Jamie Egan hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left in regulation and the Cougars outscored visiting Delaware Valley College, 17-8, in overtime for the 72-63 win and first place in the Freedom Conference.
Misericordia, which was ranked seventh earlier in the day in the first regional rankings of the year, improved to 17-5 overall and 9-2 in the Freedom. The Aggies fell into a second-place tie with DeSales University at 8-3 in league play (13-9 overall). Three games remain in the regular season, starting with a trip back up the Northeast Extension of the turnpike to Wilkes University on Saturday.
It's been a roller-coaster two weeks for Delaware Valley, which fell to Misericordia at home on a last-second 3-pointer by the Cougars' Joe Busacca. The Aggies then posted wins over Eastern University and Manhattanville College before defeating DeSales University this past Saturday on a wild, 35-foot bank by Chris Moran at the buzzer (the shot appeared on ESPN SportsCenter's Top Plays that night). Four days later, they get burned by a late 3-pointer again from Misericordia, though this one only forced overtime.
Overtime was not in the picture after Delaware Valley ran the shot clock down to one and the game clock down to 59 seconds before Zach Sly hit a long 3-pointer in front of his bench for a 53-44 score.
Busacca quickly answered with a trey with eight seconds later. The Aggies then turned the ball over and Steve Ware hit two free throws seven seconds later for a four-point game. Delaware Valley's Nick Sullivan was fouled with 42.8 seconds left and he missed the front end of a one-in-one. Buscacca then drained another bomb and, all of a sudden, it was a 53-53 lead. Sly was then fouled with 24 seconds remaining and he too missed the first of a one-in-one, giving the Cougars the ball with a chance to win it.
Misericordia got the ball inside to Ware, who missed and Moran grabbed the rebound while being fouled with 13.8 seconds on the clock. Now in the double-bonus, Moran calmly sank both free throws for a 55-52 score. Misericordia came down the court and the Aggies elected to play defense and not foul. The clock was winding down when Griffin Sponaugle found Egan in the right corner. He swished the 3-pointer with a defender coming at him and the game went to overtime.
Ware hit the first basket of the extra session and Misericordia had its first lead since the first half. Moran countered with a 3-pointer before Ware hit in the paint again. Arnold then connected while being fouled and he completed the 3-point play for a 61-59 Aggie lead.
Egan then hit a long trey with the shot clock winding down to put the Misericordia back in front. Sullivan missed a jumper and Ware scored at the other end while being fouled. He was short on his free throw, but it was the Cougars with a 64-61 lead with 2:36 to go.
The Aggies scored on a Sly jumper 11 seconds later, but those were the final points of the evening for the team as Misericordia closed the game with eight straight points, including six from Ware, for the 72-63 final.
The first half was a defensive battle as neither team shot better than 35 percent from the field. The Aggies were at 29 percent (9-for-31), but they had eight offensive rebounds (24-15 advantage in overall rebounds) that resulted in a 7-0 advantage in second-chance points and a 23-20 lead at the intermission.
After uncharacteristically hitting just one 3-pointer in the first half, the Aggies opened the second half with back-to-back treys from Sullivan and Arnold for a nine-point advantage. Two minutes later, Moran had a drive for a layup and Arnold followed with a steal and a fast-break layup for a 10-0 run and a 33-20 lead with 16:09 remaining.
The Cougars responded with a 12-5 spurt to get back in the game at the midway point of the second half. Misericordia kept getting close, but the Aggies had an answer, especially Sly who had 13 points in the stanza. Three of those came on that long 3-pointer with just under a minute to go in regulation that looked to be the back-breaker. But Misericordia rallied in the stretch and won the wild contest in overtime.
Ware finished with a near triple-double as he notched 27 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks. Buscacca had four treys and 19 points. Egan had nine points, all from 3-point land.
Sly led Delaware Valley with 19 points and also added nine rebounds. Arnold had 14 points while Moran ended with 13 points and 14 boards.