Rock wins overtime thriller at Clarion

Howes’ last second layup forces overtime where The Rock prevailed 97-94

Published by Ryan Mosher, Date: February 27, 2024
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SRU’s men’s basketball headed east to attempt the season sweep of the Clarion University Golden Eagles. In the first meeting of the year, The Rock managed a comfortable 64-54 victory.  

Coming into this matchup, SRU held a record of 12-12 with a 10-8 record during Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) play. Clarion carried a 7-18 record while going 5-14 in conference play.   

SRU’s star guard, Maceo Austin, came into the matchup as the only PSAC player to be ranked in the top 15 in scoring, rebounds, steals and blocks. Unfortunately for The Rock, they would have to play this game without him.  

Austin averages 34.8 minutes played per game, so his absence meant more playing time and bigger roles for Bobby Clifford and Sheick Samoura.   

The two teams started off the game by trading baskets until the Green and White slowly crept ahead. Suddenly, Slippery Rock found themselves with a 12-point advantage more than halfway through the first half.  

The Golden Eagles gained some momentum and made a small run before halftime to cut The Rock’s lead to seven. The score at halftime was 35-28.   

Jomo Goings led SRU in scoring at halftime with 11 points and added two steals to the stat sheet. Clifford made the most of his larger role by scoring nine points on three three-point baskets in the first half.   

Clarion started the second half strong by cutting their deficit to two points. The Rock responded with a scoring burst of their own to increase their lead back to 10 with scoring coming from all around.  

It was the Golden Eagles’ turn to make another run. This time, it was a 15-0 scoring outburst to put themselves ahead 60-57 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the second half.   

As the time continued to tick off the clock, SRU found themselves down five points with less than two minutes remaining.   

Two free throws from Luke Howes and a three-point basket from Goings and Ike Herster gave The Rock an 80-79 lead.   

As SRU looked to close out the game defensively, Clarion’s Gavin Cote made a clutch three-pointer to put the Golden Eagles ahead with 5.8 seconds remaining.  

Head Coach Ian Grady decided not to call a timeout and let Clarion set up their defense. His choice proved to be correct.   

Howes caught the inbound pass and raced down the court. He blew past the defense and made a game-tying layup with 0.2 seconds on the clock.   

An energized SRU group took charge in overtime. After a Goings layup and Lashon Lindsay two-point jumper, The Rock never looked back and held on to a three-point victory.   

Lindsay led all scorers with 27 points and 13 rebounds, which was his ninth double-double of the year. Goings had a career-high 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds.   

Howes, Herster and Clifford all eclipsed double digits in the scoring department to support Lindsay and Goings.  

The Rock’s victory improves their record to 13-12 overall and 11-8 in the PSAC. It also gives them some cushion in the race to host a PSAC playoff game. They now stand two games above Mercyhurst University and Seton Hill University in the standings with three games to play.   

The loss drops Clarion’s record to 7-19 overall and 5-15 in PSAC play.   

The Rock was next in action on Saturday at Morrow Field House against Indiana University (Pa.) for the White Out game.

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