Winning basket at 3 seconds mark
Cougars defeat Tigers 75-74 in Australian opener
KILSYTH, Victoria (Australia) - Brock Motum scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half, including a game-winning putback, as the Washington State University menís basketball team edged out the Melbourne Tigers of the NBL (National Basketball League), 75-74, Tuesday, Aug. 7 at Kilsyth Sports Centre. The exhibition game was the first of five for the Cougars, who are in Australia for a 14-day, four city, International tour.
Motum, a senior, added 7 rebounds to his 21 points and was 9-for-15 from the field. Sophomore DaVonte Lacy added 16 points for WSU, while senior Reggie More was the other Cougar in double figures with 11 points and 6 assists. Fellow senior Mike Ladd led both teams with 10 rebounds and was one point shy of a double-double with 9.
The Tigers were led by Chris Goulding with 20 points, while Nate Tomlinson had 14 points and Auryn MacMillan chipped in 12. MacMillan added 6 blocked shots and 9 rebounds.
The game came down to the wire as Melbourne erased a 7-point deficit (67-60 with 3:50 left in the game). The Tiger run started with a 3-pointer by Goulding to put his team within 2 points, 71-69, with just over a minute to play. WSU couldnít convert on its next possession and Moore fouled Goulding on a 3-pointer on the next Melbourne possession, putting him at the line for 3 free throws. Goulding hit all 3 and gave the home team a 72-71 lead with 40.6 seconds remaining in the game. Still with hope, Moore found an open Ladd on the next possession to quickly get the lead back at 73-72 now with 35 seconds to go.
The Tigers werenít going to go down easy either. Tommy Greer took a 3-point shot with 20 seconds to go, and missed, but Goulding, who had a stellar quarter, was there for the offensive rebound. The ball ended up back to Greer who scored to give his team the lead back at 74-73 and just 13 seconds on the clock. It was down to one more play for the Cougars. Moore took charge once again, but this time took it to the hoop himself. He missed, but Motum was there for the quick putback and the 75-74 advantage with 3.3 seconds left. The Tigers werenít done yet, putting up one more shot, which rolled out of the rim as the crowd held itís breath. The buzzer went off and WSU escaped with a 75-74 victory in its first game of the five-game international tour.
WSU opened the second half with 7-straight points to pull within 3 points at 43-30 with 6:30 to go, led by four points from Motum and three from Moore. The Tigers followed with 4-straight of their own extending the lead back to 7 at 47-40 with 5:43 to go in the third quarter. Trailing 53-48, Lacy took over the game. After hitting 1-of-2 free throws, he followed with a layup, an assist on a bucket by D.J. Shelton and a 3-pointer for an 8-0 WSU run for a 56-53 lead with 42 seconds remaining in the quarter. WSU held on for the same lead at the end of the third.
Throughout the second quarter, the Tigers doubled their lead, beginning the period with a 5-point lead, 25-20. WSU started the second quarter with a 6-2 run to pull within one point, 27-26 just three and a half minutes into the quarter. Melbourne put together an 8-0 run for a 9-point, 36-26 lead with 4 minutes to go in the second. The Tigers extended the lead to 43-33 at halftime. Motum scored seven of his nine points in that period, while Lacy had 7 points at halftime.
The Cougars and Tigers went back-and-forth for the majority of the first quarter. WSU scored first as Lacy went 1-for-2 from the free throw line early on. A long jumper by Motum gave WSU a 3-0 lead, before Melbourne scored seven-straight for a 7-3 lead. The Cougars countered and eventually tied the game at 13 with 4:10 left in the first quarter. With the game tied at 20 with 43.3 seconds to go, the Tigers scored five-straight, including a 3-point play and closely missed a last-second half-court shot to take a 25-20 lead after the first 10 minutes. Lacy led the way with 5 points in the first quarter, as Moore, Ladd and Kernich-Drew each added 3.
WSU next heads to Sydney for two games. The first of the two games is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 9 at 1 p.m. (Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 8 p.m. PT) in North Sydney against Northís Invitational Team.