By Sam Oshtry '19
The Aces waged an entertaining, hard fought battle on Tuesday night in Bryant Gym, but ultimately succumbed in overtime to Conestoga 72-69. The game was tight throughout, with 34 lead changes and plenty of late game heroics, keeping everyone on the edge of their seats until the final buzzer.
After trailing 33-30 at the break, LM led 49-48 heading into the final quarter. The teams traded baskets on eight consecutive possessions in the fourth, with Conestoga knocking down a three to go up 58-56 with a minute to play in regulation. A Darryl Taylor '19 three with under 40 seconds to play put the Aces up one. Conestoga, however, completed a three-point play on the other end with 17 seconds to go to regain a two-point lead. With the clock winding down in regulation, Steve Payne '19 attacked the basket and hit a contested layup to tie the game at 61 and force overtime.
The Aces started out the extra period on a 4-0 run on two layups by Terrell Jones '17, but Conestoga forced a turnover and converted a three-point play on the other end. An Aces miss triggered another Conestoga bucket and the Pioneers extended their lead to three with 20 seconds to play. The Aces had three good game-tying looks from three that fell short and the Pioneers sealed the game with free throws in the closing seconds.
Jones led the Aces with 32 points. Noah Fennell '17 (14 points), Payne (12 points), Taylor (9 points) and Jack Forrest '19 (2 points) rounded out the scoring.
Aces fans are certainly getting their money's worth. This was LM's third overtime contest of the season and second in the Bryant Gymnasium. The home crowd was filled with young alumni returning for winter break, including KJ Helton (Temple), Jeremy Horn (Claremont McKenna), Eli Needle (Kansas), B.J Johnson (La Salle) and Jule Brown (Dickinson), among others.
The Aces will look to bounce back against Central League opponent Radnor on Thursday at 7 PM.