Klinger and Herring II Shine in Drew's OT Conference Win

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MADISON, N.J. (Jan. 30, 2016) – After seeing its 18-point cushion erased, the Drew University men's basketball team salvaged Saturday's game with a resurgent overtime period and defeated its Landmark Conference rival Juniata College, 79-78, in a grueling game in Baldwin Gymnasium to tie for third place in the conference standings. 
Guard play was key in the win as senior guards Mike Klinger and Kevin Herring II combined for 55 points with Klinger shooting 48-percent from the field. With 27, Herring II locked in a season-high scoring output. Senior guard Brian McLaughlin snatched a career-high 11 rebounds, including critical boards in overtime. Sophomore forward Blaine Taylor also achieved a career-high with eight rebounds.
Fifteen seconds remained in OT with Drew (10-10, 7-4) trailing by two. Klinger dove for the intentional foul that resulted in two misses. Now on the offensive, Klinger coasted down the court, clutched the ball to his hip, and put his head down for the drive. He bolted up and got the off balance layup to go while drawing the foul as he went sprawling out of bounds. The layup tied the game at 78 and the foul shot gave Drew the win.
With Drew trailing by six with two minutes to go in the overtime period, senior guard Brian McLaughlin rose for a deep 3-pointer that fell to cut the deficit in half. Then, with seconds remaining, and Drew desperately vying for the three down six, they took several shots that missed but fought hard for each rebound before finally kicking it out to Herring II who got his to go, setting the stage for Klinger's victory-clinching heroics. 
Drew held the lead for almost the entirety of the contest before Juniata (14-6, 7-4) took it over with four minutes to go. The teams traded baskets down the stretch until the Rangers erupted into a 9-0 run that featured freshman guard Darius Reiter draining an important 3-pointer to trim the deficit to one then Klinger coming down on the following possession and sinking a mid-range two off the dribble to give the Rangers their lead back. Drew led 60-59 with three minutes to go when Herring II spun into the lane and earned a tricky lay-in.
Juniata hit a 3-pointer with just two seconds remaining to send the contest to overtime with the teams deadlocked at 65.
Drew's relentless defense held Juniata without a basket through the first five minutes of the game. In the meantime, a facemask-donning Klinger barked orders to his teammates. Klinger facilitated the offense with seamless, sharp passes and athletic moves to the basket. Klinger brought the early score to 7-0 when he euro-stepped into the lane, faked a pass and looped in a layup while drawing the foul and tumbling to the ground.
As Drew's lead expanded, the aura surrounding the team developed into a team-wide calm and focus. The patience and control Drew maintained led to incredibly disciplined defense. The Rangers committed only four fouls while yielding just 29 points in the first half.
With four minutes remaining in the half, Herring II took the role of playmaker. With the ball in his hands at the top of the key, the guard strung together a series of hesitations and crossovers that spun the Juniata defender into the ground. He was rewarded later on in the sequence when he drilled a three from the corner. The Rangers enjoyed a 33-18 lead.
An extra deep Juniata 3-pointer brought the score to 39-29 and the teams entered the halftime break.
The beginning of the second half saw the insurance Drew accrued via their big early lead running low. Juniata had trimmed the deficit to just four and had the look of a new team out of the break. Herring II used a floater to interrupt Juniata's brief run at the lead. Herring II's basket gave Drew a 41-35 lead. With seven minutes to go, Juniata finally gained the lead that eluded them throughout the whole game. They took a 53-52 lead after they hit a 3-pointer from the corner. On the following possession, they hit another one for a four-point lead.
The back-and-forth contest saw both teams post relatively similar stat lines. The most obvious difference was the fact that Juniata had five players post 12 or more points, with the leader garnering only 14. Drew, on the other hand, saw Klinger and Herring II do the majority of its scoring. Juniata grabbed 42 rebounds and Drew, 41.
The Rangers' next game is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 3rd against The United States Merchant Marine Academy, the conference contest is slated for a 5:00 p.m. tip.