TIFFIN, Ohio -- With the season on the line at Tiffin University on Saturday (Feb. 24) afternoon, the Cardinals came through in the clutch in the closing moments in securing an 88-86 overtime victory over the Dragons to earn a spot in the 2018 GLIAC Tournament.
After the Dragons opened with an 8-0 lead, the Cards worked their way back and led by a game-high five points at the 3:00 marked when Liam Evans hit on a layup to put the visitors up 38-33. Saginaw Valley entered the locker room with a 40-37 advantage as Wells connected on a jumper with just 30 seconds left in the opening frame.
The second half featured an exciting finish, as Tiffin outscored the Cardinals by a 39-36 margin and forced an overtime session. Evans made a crucial free throw to give the visitors a 76-74 lead with 19 seconds to play in regulation before the Dragons made a layup with 12 seconds to go to force an extra five minutes.
After a tough start from the charity stripe in regulation, John came up clutch and scored the first four points of overtime on four consecutive free throws, putting the Cardinals on top 80-76 with 4:38 to play.
Tiffin, however, would respond and connect on four freebies of its own to knot the score at 80-80 with just over two minutes to play.
Saginaw Valley would score six of the next eight points, using buckets from James Toohey, Wells and John, grabbing an 86-82 lead with 44 seconds showing.
Leading 86-84, DJ Hoskins was fouled and made a pair of clutch free throws, making the lead 88-84 with four seconds left.
A late Tiffin basket at the buzzer put the count at 88-86, which is where the score remained as the final buzzer sounded.
Inside the Boxscore
- Wells was named the Meijer "Player of the Game" after his standout performance, scoring a game-high 28 points with five boards, four helpers and four steals. He played all 45 minutes for the Cardinals.
- John's career-highs of 18 points and 15 boards marked a stellar performance for him as well in his 39 minutes of action.
- Evans recorded his second career double-double, scoring 14 points while pulling down 10 boards.
- SVSU out-rebounded Tiffin by a 44-38 margin and posted a 48-38 advantage in the paint.
From Head Coach Randy Baruth
"Today was a gritty road win, led by senior Mike Wells, who refused to lose! I'm happy for our team and staff and we look forward to competing on Wednesday in the GLIAC Tournament!"
The Cardinals advance to the 2018 GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinals on Wednesday (Feb. 28) and will travel to play at No. 3 Ferris State. Tip-off time is still TBA. Stay tuned to svsucardinals.com and @SVSUAthletics on twitter for all udpates on the matchup.
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