The Hannibal-LaGrange men's basketball team fended off No. 22 Missouri Baptist 73-68 on Tuesday night at Mabee Sports Complex.
The Hannibal-LaGrange University men's basketball team busted out of a month-long losing funk in prime fashion Tuesday night at Mabee Sports Complex.
HLGU fended off No. 22 Missouri Baptist 73-68 in an American Midwest Conference game for its most impressive victory of the season and first since Dec. 30.
Brady Smith put the Trojans (6-15, 6-10 AMC) ahead for good by making a layup with 28 seconds remaining. The hosts made their final five free throws to secure the upset.
"Tonight was a great team effort,” HLGU coach Jason Durst said. “We had good balance offensively and competed every possession on the defensive end. We need to use this victory as a momentum builder to finish the conference season strong."
Demetrius Early came off the bench to knock down a trio of threes in the first half, when he scored nine of his 13 points. HLGU made six of seven 3-point attempts over the first 20 minutes to take a 39-32 lead into the intermission.
Lincoln Elbe, who distributed a game-high six assists, netted his only points of the night with a three on the first possession of the second half to put the hosts up 10 — the largest lead of the night for either team.
But Missouri Baptist (19-6, 11-6) roared back, as four different Spartans scored to key an 8-0 run to cut their deficit to 42-40 with 16 minutes, 46 seconds remaining.
Trevor Ison converted a conventional three-point play assisted by Elbe to get HLGU back on track. MBU, however, slimmed its deficit to one on three different occasions before going ahead 53-52 with 8:20 left.
Smith put HLGU back in front at the 6:23 mark, and Ison went on a personal 6-0 run to put the Trojans ahead 64-58 with just under four minutes left.
HLGU stayed ahead until Jesus Castillo delivered a go-ahead three for the Spartans with 39 seconds on the clock.
Eleven seconds later, Smith put HLGU back on top with a basket in the paint and was fouled. The freshman missed the free throw, but Ison pulled down the rebound and scored on a putback to grow the Trojans edge to 68-65.
Tim Pace made a free throw with 13 seconds left, and Early knocked down two freebies to put HLGU up six.
Fitzgerald Hopkins made a three with three seconds left to pull MBU to within three, but Early made two more free throws to slam the door shut.
Ison led HLGU with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The sophomore made seven of his 11 shots from the field.
Smith finished with 14 points, while Tyrone Hueitt Jr. added 10 points and seven boards. Tim Pace was nearly the fifth Trojan in double figures with nine points.
Pablo Hernandez and Johnny Benson each scored 16 points for the Spartans, who made just 14 of their 26 attempts from the foul line in the losing effort.
HLGU hosts No. 3 Columbia at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.