Gators shocked at home by Oberlin

James Ness, '12, scored 26 points in Thursday's upset loss to Oberlin. Photo by Charlie Magovern/The Campus

By Patrick Fritz

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The Allegheny Men’s basketball team suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Oberlin Yeomen Thursday night at the David V. Wise Center.  Despite an outstanding performance by junior James Ness, who scored 26 points and added a career-best 12 boards, the Gators could not contain the Oberlin offense that shot 52 percent from the field.

Oberlin came out firing, starting the game with an 11–2 run in the first seven minutes.  The Gators fought back largely due to the combined effort of James Ness ’12 and D’Andre Corbin ’14 who combined for the team’s first 18 points.  Despite poor shooting, the Gators tied the game at the eight-minute mark with a run of their own, outscoring the Yeomen 12–3 in the five-minute stretch.  Allegheny grabbed its first lead of the contest with five minutes left in the first half, but the Yeomen converted on Allegheny’s last-minute mistakes to restore a 29–28 lead at the midway point.

The Gators tied the game with a clutch three-pointer from guard Ryan Stanko, ’14, and then took their first lead of the second half with a breakaway dunk by Donte Briscoe, ’12, with 12:54 remaining.  Oberlin fought back with some great shooting by Pat Bernhard to grab a four-point lead at the 10-minute mark.

Allegheny then capitalized on an Oberlin technical foul with a four-point possession to take a two-point lead with seven minutes left.  The Yeomen quickly struck back with a ten-footer to tie the game at fifty-one.  Ryan Stanko came up big again at five minute mark with a three-pointer to give him eleven on the night and to help the Gators jump out to a 56–52 lead, their largest of the game.

Oberlin’s Josh Merritt cashed in a three-point attempt to tie the game at fifty-eight with two-minutes remaining.  Bobby Theiss ’14 forced an Oberlin turnover with eighteen seconds left but the Gators failed to get off a shot against Oberlin’s defense as time expired.

The Yeomen drew first blood one minute into the overtime period when guard Josh Merritt made one of two free throws.  The Yeomen converted another bucket to stretch the lead to three but James Ness powered in a layup to answer.  On the ensuing possession, Oberlin Guard Josh Merritt came up with another big three-pointer to stretch the lead up to four with just over two minutes left. Corbin converted three of four free throws on the next two possessions to pull the Gators within one with a minute and a half remaining.

Oberlin’s Merritt came up with his second three-pointer of the overtime period to restore the four-point lead, 67–63.  Devone McLeod was fouled in the lane with 40 seconds left and converted both free throws to pull the Gators within two.

“We didn’t deserve to win that game; we can play a lot better than that.” Ness said after the game.

The Gators were forced to foul in desperation and The Yeomen converted five of six field goals to seal the 72 – 68 victory.