Red Wolves defeat Trojans in thrilling quadruple overtime finish
It was a historic day for the Red Wolves and UALR, their first opponent in the Sun Belt Conference basketball tournament, made it so. Never in the history of the SBC tournament has a game gone into four overtimes, but it took just that for the Red Wolves to dispatch their rivals in a 116-114 thriller.
For 60 minutes, the Red Wolves and the Trojans battled back and forth, with neither team able to separate themselves. The Red Wolves led the Trojans in field goal percentage at 44.3 (35-79) against 40.4 (36-89) from the Trojans. However, the Trojans led the Red Wolves in free-throw percentage, which was what kept the Trojans in the game for so long. UALR shot 85 percent (34-40) from the charity stripe against the Red Wolves 70.2 percent (33-47).
Men’s basketball Head Coach John Brady was relieved his team was able to persevere through the four overtime marathon.
“I’ve been coaching a long time and I don’t think I’ve ever coached in a four overtime game” Brady said after the game. “I was proud of our team for finding a way to win. You know, we had that game won three or four times, and we missed those free throws.”
Melvin Johnson III, who was the one to finally finish the Trojans for the Red Wolves, knew the Trojans couldn’t keep their defensive pressure up the whole game.
“I knew for a fact that they wouldn’t be able to guard me and Kirk at the same time. So I made a drive and Kirk stepped in the lane and we were able to finish it,” he said.
Senior guard Ed Townsel, who played all 60 minutes for the Red Wolves, finished the game with a team high 32 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Senior forward Kendrick Washington had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, but fouled out in regulation. Senior forward Kirk Van Slyke, who had four fouls with five minutes left in regulation, finished the game with 24 points, nine rebounds, and five blocks.
With their rival behind them, the Red Wolves will next face the Georgia State Panthers on their route to the Big Dance. The Panthers, who received a double-bye for finishing in the top two, have yet to play in the tournament. Tip off for that game is set at 2 p.m. Saturday from Lakefront Arena. Fans can catch the game on Espn3.com or sunbeltsports.org.
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