The Hannibal-LaGrange men's basketball team went wire-to-wire with ranked Columbia but fell 69-67 at home Thursday night.
The Hannibal-LaGrange University men's basketball team was on the verge of its second consecutive victory over a ranked American Midwest Conference opponent.
The Trojans (6-16, 6-11 AMC) led No. 3 Columbia College by six points with just over six minutes remaining Thursday night.
Then the Cougars (23-2, 15-2) plotted an escape.
Columbia finished on an 11-3 run, capped by a pair of free throws by Lucky Ogbomo with 0.1 seconds remaining, to defeat HLGU 69-67 at Mabee Sports Complex.
Following a timeout with 17.3 seconds left, Columbia's Jackson Dubinski worked around a screen by Ogbomo, drove the lane and missed a layup. Ogbomo trailed the play and corralled the rebound before drawing a foul.
Ogbomo posted a game-high 10 rebounds, half of which came off the offensive glass.
The Cougars earned 16 second-chance points on the night.
“We told them coming out of the timeout the first shot may not beat us, but we can't give up an offensive board because that's going to beat us,” HLGU head coach Jason Durst said. “But they just had a guy make a tough play, get the ball and get fouled. We competed the whole game, and to have it come down to that one rebound, it kind of stings a little bit.”
Columbia College head coach Bob Burchard was pleased with his team's execution on its final possession.
“Like most things, it didn't play out exactly the way we wanted, but the most important thing for us was to get some space,” the Columbia coach said. “Hannibal did such a good job crowding the basket all night, and we really wanted to put ourselves in a position where we could be really aggressive to the basket. We were, and we had nice rebound.”
HLGU sank three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half to turn a 33-32 halftime deficit into a 41-34 lead with 17:12 remaining.
Brady Smith, Trevor Ison and Tim Pace all connected from deep range during the 9-1 run out of the intermission.
Pace led the Trojans with 25 points on 10-for-16 shooting from the field.
HLGU assisted on 18 of its 26 field goals.
“Our guys were committed to moving the ball,” Durst said of his offense. “Tim Pace had a good game offensively, being aggressive, so that was good to see.”
Columbia rallied to tie the score on four different occasions before Demetrius Early and Pace drained back-to-back treys to put the Trojans ahead 64-58 with 6:03 left.
Early's three banked in as the shot clock was about to expire.
“We were having a great little flurry, and then a guy banks in a three after a really good defensive possession,” Burchard said. “I was really happy our guys didn't deflate.”
After a 7-0 spurt by Columbia, Pace made a bucket with 2:38 remaining to give HLGU a 66-65 edge. Ison added a free throw nearly a minute later to put the Trojans up two.
Dubinski countered for Columbia to tie it up with 1:26 on the clock.
HLGU committed two turnovers in the final 68 seconds to thwart its comeback bid.
Ison provided 11 points for the Trojans in the loss, while Early came off the bench for eight points and tied teammate Lincoln Elbe with a game-high five assists.
HLGU made 12 of its 21 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc but shot just four free throws, making three.
Nic Reynolds netted 17 points to pace the Cougars, who knocked down 22 of 27 freebies.
Durst mentioned he takes away more positives than negatives from this week despite Thursday's disappointing finish.
HLGU beat No. 22 Missouri Baptist 73-68 on Tuesday.
“If we continue to compete this way, we're going to have the opportunity to win some games,” Durst said. “We've got to make sure we're ready to compete every opportunity. If we can do that, even here in the last few games, we'll see what happens in terms of our conference standings.”