March 17, 2009

Courtesy of Findlay Athletics

The University of Findlay men's basketball team, ranked first in the latest National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) poll, advanced to the Elite Eight for the second time in school history with a dramatic 89-86 overtime victory against 18th ranked Bellarmine University on Tuesday, March 17 in Croy Gymnasium.

The game was nip and tuck throughout as there were 11 ties and ten lead changes during the thriller which gave the Oilers a 33-0 record on the season.

Both teams battled back and forth during the first half eventually settling in at 38-38 when the buzzer sounded.

In the second half, the Knights went up as many as six points at 56-50 with 11:28 showing on the clock but senior forward Josh Bostic cut the lead to two with a pair of free throws and a lay-up.

After a Nick Holmes basketball for Bellarmine, senior guard Tyler Evans drilled a long three pointer from the corner to make the score 58-57 with 8:12 to play.

A couple of baskets by Bellarmine then stretched their lead to five but Evans once again connected on a triple which was followed by a tough jumper from sophomore guard Nathan Hyde to tie the game at 63-63 with 5:34 remaining.

A jumper by Justin Benedetti on the ensuing possession gave the Knights the lead back but Hyde then stuck a three pointer to give Findlay a one point advantage at 66-65 with 4:22 left.

Bellarmine's Chartrael Hall then hit a pair from the charity stripe which was followed by a three point play from Bostic giving the Oilers a 69-67 advantage but Bennedetti tied it once again with two free throws.

Both teams then traded free throws before Benedetti connected on a jumper to make the score 73-71 with only 55 ticks left.

Needing a bucket, senior forward Morgan Lewis scored inside to tie the game at 73 all before Holmes scored again to give Bellarmine a 75-73 lead with 27 seconds to play in the contest.

Trailing by two, Bostic once again hit a big shot, this time a deep triple to give the Oilers a 76-75 lead with only 12 seconds remaining but Hall was fouled on the ensuing possession with only six ticks remaining.

Hall missed the first shot from the line and tied the game with his second. A running jumper by junior guard Marcus Parker then did not fall as the game was sent into overtime.

Leading 80-79 with 3:06 remaining in the extra session, Bostic drilled a three pointer before Holmes scored inside for the Knights to cut the Oilers lead to two at 83-81 with 2:01 to play.

At the 1:30 mark, Bostic drained a jumper which was followed by a triple from the Knights Andrew Patterson making the score 85-84 with just over a minute left in the overtime period.

A steal by Parker then sent Evans to the line where he connected on both attempts to push the Findlay lead to three at 87-84 with only 13 ticks left.

Benedetti then apparently tied the game with a triple but it was overruled making the score 87-86 with three seconds to play.

Hyde then swished both free throw attempts after a Bellarmine foul to give Findlay an 89-86 win.

Bostic put on quite the performance as he racked up 37 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the field. The All-American who was named the tournament MVP, drilled 4-of-6 three pointers and all 11 of his attempts from the line to go along with four rebounds, four assists and two steals.

15 of Bostic's points came within the last 3:46 of regulation and the five minute overtime period.

For the tournament, the 2009 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and Midwest Region Player of the Year averaged 27.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while hitting 31-of-32 (96.9%) of his free throw attempts.

Evans added a season-high 14 points which included a 4-of-5 showing from three point land while Hyde scored 11.

Lewis scored six points to go along with a career-high 13 boards while Parker and senior center Lee Roberts added nine and eight points respectively.

Parker and Hyde were also selected to the all-tournament team and were joined by Bellarmine's Benedetti and Hall on the squad.

Benedetti scored 27 points in the championship game to pace Bellarmine while Hall chipped in 19.

As a team, the Oilers shot 53.7 percent (29-of-54) from the floor which included an 11-of-21 (52.4%) showing from the three point line.

The Knights meanwhile scorched the nets at 57.4 percent (31-of-54).

Findlay will be back in action again on Wednesday, March 25 at 8:30 p.m. in Springfield, Massachusetts when they battle C.W. Post who defeated Bentley 82-76 in the East Region final. Post is the only other undefeated team left in NCAA Division II basketball, achieving a 30-0 record thus far.