Howard lifts SVC to victory with last-second shot

More news about: St. Vincent

JC Howard connected on a 17-foot jumper with 2 seconds remaining, lifting the Bearcats to a hard-fought 73-71 victory over Ramapo College in the Classic, held at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Pat Jones hit a pair of three-pointers in the game's opening minute to put SVC in front 6-0.  After a Ramapo timeout, Austin Ford scored on a layup to make it 8-0 in favor of the Bearcats.  However, the Roadrunners then went on a 10-3 run to take a 12-11 lead at the 13-minute mark of the first half.
Ben Klimchock then hit a three from the corner to put SVC back in front, 14-12.
Back-to-back jumpers from Jaylon Bell and Jones ran the lead to five, 19-14, with 8:26 left in the first half.  Once again, the Roadrunners came back, taking the lead (25-24) after an errant Bearcat pass led a Ramapo dunk at the 4:40 mark.
Bobby Swartwout then put the Bearcats back in front, scoring four points in 45 seconds, and the lead extended to four (33-29) after Howard hit a second-chance three.  With less than a minute left in the half, Swartwout made a strong move in the paint, beating two defenders and scoring the last points of the half, putting SVC ahead by a score of 39-33.     
Five points from Howard in the early portion of the second half made it 44-38 in favor of SVC, and a three from Dan Sinwell once again made it a 7-point game (47-40) with 14:05 on the clock.

Five consecutive points by Ramapo cut the gap to just three, 50-47, with 11:15 to go, but Bell drove the lane and dished to Ford for a layup on SVC's next possession to return the momentum to the Bearcats.   Howard kept it going with a baseline drive that made the score 54-47 with just under 10 minutes left, forcing Ramapo to call timeout in an attempt to settle things down.
After the Roadrunners once again made it a three-point game (56-53), Howard hit another trey, but Ramapo once again battled back, taking advantage of several missed free throws by the Bearcats to cut the margin to just once, 63-62, with 4:10 left.
Ramapo then went to the charity stripe and hit a pair of shots to take the lead, 64-63, at the 3:34 mark, their first lead since the 3:30 mark of the first half.
A conventional three-point play with 2:09 left put Ramapo in front, 69-66, but a failed alley-oop attempt by the Roadrunners led to a score by Austin Dedert, who was fouled and hit the free throw, tying the game with 1:33 remaining.

The opponents failed to score on their next possession, and SVC took advantage after Bell grabbed the rebound.  Howard then drove through the paint and scored, putting SVC ahead, 71-69.  Again, Ramapo missed a shot, and it was Bell once again that came up with a key rebound with just under 30 ticks on the clock.  After a Saint Vincent timeout, the Ramapo defense forced a Bearcat turnover with 21 seconds to go.  The Roadrunners then drew a foul with 8 seconds left, hitting both shots to tie the game, 71-71.
The Bearcats ran the ball down the court quickly, with Jones working through two defenders to find Sinwell, who then passed to Howard, who launched a jumper with 2.6 seconds remaining.  The shot found its mark, and Ramapo was unable to hit a half-court shot at the buzzer.

Howard led the Bearcats on the scoresheet with 19 points, while Jones had 14 points and a team-high 9 rebounds.  Swartwout added 13 points and 6 boards while Bell had 5 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.

Saint Vincent is now 7-2 on the season and will wrap up its Las Vegas trip with a game on Wednesday (December 30) against Calvin College at 9PM Eastern.