It took an extra ten minutes, but the 17th-ranked Peru State men's basketball team picked up their 15th win of the season in double overtime Saturday afternoon.
The Bobcats outlasted the 24th-ranked Central Methodist (CMU) Eagles in Fayette, Mo., 110-107. Peru State had led by four at halftime only to see the Eagles tie it up at the end of regulation. After both scored nine in the first OT, the 'Cats outscored CMU 9-6 in the final five minutes for the win.
Peru State improved to 15-4 overall and more importantly are now 10-3 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart). The Bobcats kept pace with William Penn (Iowa) for a second-place tie behind league leading Benedictine (Kan.). Central Methodist fell to 12-7 on the season and 7-6 in conference play.
First Half Action
As the score would indicate the game was tight throughout. In the first half alone there were ten different lead changes.
Jamil Maddred (Camden, N.J.) hit a pair of free throws to give the Bobcats the first points of the game with just 14 seconds off the clock. After CMU made one of two free throws, Lyle Hexom (Omaha) grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in giving the Bobcats a 4-1 lead.
The Eagles would score the next five points for the first lead change before Maddred hit a bucket in the paint to tie it up at 6-6 with 17:08 on the clock.
CMU would score the next four points to go up 10-6. The four-point lead was the largest lead for the Eagles in the first half. Central Methodist would lead by four later at 14:11 at 15-11.
Back-to-back baskets by Brandon Jones (Houston) tied the game at 15-15 with 13:37 left in the first 20 minutes. CMU would go back up by four at 23-19 at the 11:10 mark only to see the Bobcats score the next six points with the last three on a trey by Hexom to lead 25-23 just a minute later.
The game would continue to go back and forth the rest of the half. Peru State would have its largest lead at 42-36 after Hexom hit a pair of free throws with 5:26 left in the half.
Peru State would later still lead by six at 50-44 after Hexom put in a two-pointer at the 1:42 mark.
CMU would score the final two points of the half with a pair of free throws to make it 50-46 Peru State at halftime.
Second Half Action
An Eagle three-pointer started the second half to cut the lead to one, but Hexom responded with a bucket which was followed by a trey from Deonte McReynolds(Chicago) off an assist from Jones. Hexom would follow with another bucket and suddenly the 'Cats had their largest lead of the game of eight at 57-49 with 18:14 left in the game.
Peru State was able to build its lead later to 14 at 71-57 with 12:54 on the clock after Michael Wardy (Roca) hit a pair of free throws.
The Eagles would slowly claw their way back into the game and had it down to seven before Jones completed an old-fashioned three-point play to make it 78-68 with 8:24 left in the game.
CMU was not finished as the Eagles would score the next ten points to tie the game up at 78-78 with 6:38 left on the clock. The Eagles would score the next bucket to take the lead before Jones tied it back up at 80-80.
The rest of the second half went back and forth with CMU leading 92-90 with 28 seconds left. Maddred would grab an offensive rebound with one second left and put it back in to give the 'Cats a second life forcing overtime with the game tied 92-92.
First Overtime Action
A basket by Jones started the first OT only to see CMU tie it up.
Later, after the game was tied at 96-96, McReynolds drained a three-pointer which was followed by a basket by Maddred. The 'Cats would lead 101-96 with 53 seconds left.
Again, the Eagles would not go away and tied the game at 101-101 with a couple of seconds on the clock. Peru State had a chance to win after a technical was called, but missed both free throws forcing the second overtime.
Second Overtime Action
McReynolds started the second overtime with a trey. CMU made a pair of baskets to take a one-point advantage at 105-104 with 2:20 remaining.
Maddred completed an old-fashioned three-point play to put the Bobcats back up by two 107-105. He would then make one of two free throws to extend the lead to three. After CMU hit a bucket, Maddred would finish off the scoring with two more free throws giving the Bobcats the 110-107 double overtime victory.
Both teams shot the ball well with Peru State having one of its better field-goal shooting nights. The Bobcats made 40 of 75 field goals for 53.3% which included making 7 of 25 from behind the arc for 28%. At the charity stripe, the 'Cats made 23 of 29 for 79.3%. The Eagles hit 35 of 75 for 467% and were even better from long range as they connected on 13 of 27 for 48.1%. At the free throw line, CMU made 24 of 35 for 68.6%.
Peru State won the rebounding battle by one as they finished with 41. CMU had a slight edge in assists as they finished with 19 compared to 16 for the 'Cats.
The Eagles finished with 13 turnovers while the Bobcats had 17. Peru State blocked ten shots while the Eagles did not have a block. The 'Cats nabbed ten steals while CMU finished with eight.
Peru Player Statistics
Four Bobcats finished in double-digit scoring with one other just one point away. Hexom led the team with 28 points on 12 of 17 shooting. Maddred added 25 points with Jones adding 24. McReynolds finished with 15 points with Wilson just one shy of double figures.
Hexom had another double-double as he had a game-high 15 rebounds. Maddred added seven boards with Wilson and Jones each grabbing six.
Maddred dished out eight assists while Jones dished out three dimes. Hexom blocked four shots while Maddred and Jones each blocked two. Jones led the team with three steals with Maddred, Hexom, and Wilson each nabbed two.
Peru State has two more huge games this coming week as they face two teams that are either ranked or receiving votes.
On Thursday, the Bobcats will travel to Lamoni, Iowa, to take on the Graceland Yellowjackets. The 'Jackets, who are receiving the votes in the most recent poll, have won three straight and are now 11-6 on the season and 7-5 in the Heart. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
The NAIA's second-ranked team, William Penn (Iowa), will be the opponent Saturday in the Al Wheeler Activity Center in Peru at 4 p.m. The Statesmen have dropped two out of their last three, but won a close one Saturday to improve to 16-3 overall and are tied with the Bobcats at 10-3 in conference action.