Memphis - First year head coach Tyler Papadinis will remember his first career victory as Rhodes College men's basketball won their season opener Friday night 95-90 in overtime over the University of the Ozarks. Freshman Mac James nailed the buzzer beater in regulation to tie the game before Rhodes held a 14-9 overtime advantage over the Eagles to take the first game of the season.
Rhodes held a 37-35 halftime advantage, which quickly turned into a nine-point lead out of the gate. With Rhodes leading 46-38, Ozarks scored five unanswered points to pull within two of the Lynx, before the two teams traded the lead back and forth. With the Eagles leading 76-73, freshman Mac James tied the game on a three-pointer from Tyler Guest. Guest made two free throws before the Eagles took their turn at the line, making the first before missing the second, but taking the lead after an offensive rebound and layup. A foul by the Lynx with 11 seconds left put Ozarks in prime position to force Rhodes to connect on a three-pointer to tie the game. After crossing mid-court on the throw-in, Rhodes called a timeout with 6.6 seconds to play. Throwing the ball in from near their own coaches, James side-stepped his defender behind the arc directly in front of the Lynx bench and tied the game as time expired to send fans roaring into overtime.
With the game tied 87-87 in overtime with 1:55 to go, Guest connected on a free throw followed by a three-pointer to give Rhodes a 91-87 advantage. Rhodes turned the ball over on a bad pass with 34 seconds remaining, allowing Ozarks to counter with a three-pointer with 25 seconds left to pull within one point. With Ozarks forced to foul, junior Bryce Berry made two free throws with 13 seconds left before junior Mitch Weatherford finished the game on two more free throws.
A sophomore transfer, Guest led the Lynx with the only double-double of the game, totaling 21 points and 11 rebounds. The Chicago native also tallied a block and went three-of-nine from the arc. In his collegiate debut, James scored 20 points, making all six free throws and sinking four of six three-point attempts. Senior Daniel Darst led Rhodes with five assists and two steals, followed by Weatherford with three assists. Also scoring double digits were Weatherford (16), Berry (14) and Preston Giroux (11). Freshman Brenden McNamara was critical for Rhodes with four defensive rebounds in only seven minutes before coming out of the game due to injury.
The Lynx will have a day off before hosting Austin College on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Game-Tying Buzzer Beater:
Talk about a season opener for first year head coach Tyler Papadinis & @RhodesLynxMBB! Here's the regulation #buzzerbeater to send the Lynx into their thrilling 95-90 OT victory over Ozarks! #d3hoops #RollLynx @NCAAAssignDesk @SAA_Sports @d3hoops @Local24Jessica pic.twitter.com/dTJH41ia71— Rhodes Athletics (@RhodesAthletics) November 10, 2018