Central Christian College’s men nearly fired the shot heard around the MCAC.
But it was a shot by Bellevue University that enabled the Bruins to avoid the upset.
Taylor Young's basket with 3 seconds left, after the Tigers had missed a pair of free throws with 12 seconds remaining, gave the No. 9-ranked Bruins a pulsating 69-68 victory as the Tigers suffered yet another gut-wrenching loss, which has trademarked their season.
Central is now 5-8 in the MCAC, 15-12 overall. It has lost several games in the final 2 minutes just when it appeared it might win.
"Tonight was a tough loss again," CCC coach Tony Romero said. "It's hard to think of another way we can possibly lose a game this season. When you lose by an inch, we can all think of a number of things we can do better or different. For me, I go back to the first half. We really did a poor job executing details, shooters, drivers, offensive focus on our end. We cannot feel sorry for ourselves, we just have to understand we are in or leading every game, we just need to find a way to finish. I love my guys and believe in them, we will continue to find ways to accept responsibility and execute better."
Central made a tremendous comeback, down as many as 13 points in the second half. With the win, Bellevue remains tied for second place with Waldorf, which comes to McPherson this afternoon for a 5:00 Senior Day date.
Reigning National Player of the Week Alonzo Stafford led the Tigers with 17 points, while Michael Gholston scored 15 and Ernest Burton had 11 off the bench, including a rare 4-point play that sparked the comeback. The Tigers made 8 of 19 treys, but the Bruins were better with 10 of 24.
Percy Lemle led the Bruins with 17 points and Young scored 11.
Central (68) — Stafford 17, Quincy 6, Nwosuh 7, Gholston 15, Rojas 3, Jackson 7, Burton 11, Adams 2.
Bellevue (69) — Chonis 7, Aaron 9, Lemle 17, Hammock 6, Olushola 5, Young 11, Worthen-Harris 6, Trunyan 8.
• COLLEGE OF ST. MARY WOMEN 96, CENTRAL 54 — The 15th-ranked Flames were all over the Lady Tigers from the start, leading 44-23 at the half.
The Nebraskans drained 33 of 60 shots, 11 of 25 from 3-point. Reigning MCAC Player of the Week DeAundra Young was too much with 31 points and 12 rebounds, while Tiffany Anzalone tossed in 21 and Peyton Hagen completed the 3-pronged attack with 18.
“I was pleased with the fight we displayed tonight,” said CCC coach Chris Honeck, whose team is now 3-10 in the MCAC and 9-20 overall. “We faced one of the top teams in the country and never gave up. CSM shot the ball extremely well, but other than that, most of the stats categories we track were pretty even. We held our own in the turnover battle, and although they out-rebounded us overall, their offensive rebounding wasn't a huge factor. We got great production out of our bench, where we held a 33-15 advantage. We'll need the same type of effort tomorrow against Waldorf on Senior Day."
Kelly Smit led CCC with nine points.
Central has a great chance to finish the regular season with a win as Waldorf comes in 2-11 in the MCAC and 4-24 overall. Game time is 3 p.m.
CCC (54) — Woods 3, Regier 5, Void 3, Garza 3, Spence 7, Smit 9, Young 5, Costello 7, Campa 4, Shaw 8.
College of St. Mary (96) — Hagen 18, Lewis 4, Ross 7, Anzalone 21, Young 31, Schrank 3, Davis 2, Christiansen 7, Allberry 3.