TRIPLE OT THRILLER
Western Baptist College guard Ben Sisler took only one shot Tuesday night against Eastern Oregon University.
But what a shot.
Sisler's tip-in off an Eric Fiegi miss with .6 seconds left in triple overtime gave NAIA Division II No. 2 ranked WBC a 110-108 victory and left EOU wondering how they lost a game where it seemed, at several different times, as if victory was certain.
"To be honest with you I thought we had them beat three times," EOU head coach Ryan Looney said. "We played hard. That's what we can take from this. We played hard and we never quit."
For Looney and the Mountaineers, the surest statistical sign of their defeat will have been their inability to hit free throws.
EOU went 27-for-47 from the line for a less than stellar 57 percent, including several key misses at the end of regulation and the second overtime that could have sealed the game.
"Free throws were probably the biggest thing," EOU freshman guard Mark Carollo said. "If we make a few free throws down the stretch we win the game."
In the first half the Mountaineers never trailed, leading by as many as 12 points before a Western Baptist run right before halftime cut the lead to 38-35 going into the break.
In the second half, EOU (3-10, 2-4) and Western Baptist (19-1, 6-1 CCC) played to 19 ties and changed leads nine times, working a raucous Quinn Coliseum crowd into a frenzy until Sisler's game-winning tip.
It was a game that featured virtuoso individual performances from the 6-foot-9 Fiegi, the nation's leading scorer and Carollo. Fiegi had 30 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. Carollo had 28 points. His matriculation, at this point in the season, seems complete.
"Sometimes you can get caught up in the flow of a game like that and you don't run the offense," Fiegi said. "In the second half we were able to get it together."
According to WBC head coach Justin Sherwood, it was just another night in the Cascade Collegiate Conference.
"When you're on the road in our conference it's a war every night," Sherwood said. "That's the CCC. That's why we have three teams in the top 12.
"That's why when No. 2 comes knocking on your door you play like EOU did."
Western Baptist's Jeff Dunn led all scorers with 33 points and EOU post Chad Fairbanks had 20 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out.
Following the game, EOU forward Patrick Brisbane tried to sum up his team's state of mind after the close defeat.
"It hurts," Brisbane said. "I felt we deserved to win. I felt we were the better team tonight."
EOU travels to Southern Oregon University for a Friday matchup. The Mountaineers play Saturday at Oregon Tech. Game times are 7:30 p.m.
WESTERN BAPTIST (110)
Larson 1-4 9-10 12, Worcester 2-6 0-0 5, Dunn 9-24 11-14 33, Roberts 2-7 2-4 6, Fiegi 11-16 8-12 30, Sisler 1-1 0-0 2, Worcester 1-2 0-0 3, Morris 2-2 0-0 4, Stone 0-1 0-0 0, Morris 4-13 0-0 11, Steed 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 35-78 28-36 110.
EASTERN OREGON (108)
Carollo 10-21 5-7 28, Gilbertson 1-3 2-7 4, Collins 4-6 4-6 15, Browne 5-12 2-2 12, Fairbanks 7-14 4-8 20, Pennington 0-2 3-8 3, Mackay 2-2 2-2 7, Brisbane 6-9 5-7 17, Bomberger 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 36-72 27-47 108.
Halftime score EOU 38, WBC 35. Three-pointers WBC 12-26 (Dunn 4-8), EOU 9-19 (Carollo 3-8). Fouled out Collins, Browne, Fairbanks, Larson, Worcester. Total fouls WBC 33, EOU 30. Technical fouls Fairbanks. Turnovers WBC 12, EOU 22. Rebounds WBC 39 (Fiegi 12), EOU 54 (Fairbank 11). Assists WBC 17 (Larson 5), EOU 21 (Collins 5).