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UPDATED: No. 3 Trailblazers pushed to OT

BY TRAVIS DAVID

KASKASKIA, Ill. -- In its first game since earning a No. 3 ranking in the first NJCAA Division I regular season poll, the Vincennes University Men’s Basketball team was pushed to the brink of defeat on Saturday.

The ‘Blazers needed an extra five-minute period to keep their undefeated start to the season alive.

Lony Francis, Jr. (31) and George Dixon (20) both netted career high in points, as the Trailblazers defeated District 16 foe Kaskaskia 98-92, in overtime.

“The game was about what I thought it would be,” VU Coach Todd Franklin said. “I was not surprised at all. They came in playing pretty good and I knew we were catching them at a bad time...they came in jacked up for the game.”

With the win, the Trailblazers improve to 12-0 on the season and 4-0 in league play while also ending Kaskaskia’s 5-game winning streak.

Kaskaskia (11-2, 2-2) had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but a 17-foot jumper from Quin Nottingham with two seconds left was off the mark.

“He hit some big shots for them in the game, but we did a good job defending him on that play,” Franklin said of Nottingham who also tied the game at 82 in the final minute.

After winning its first 11 games by an average of 19 points per game, VU was in for a battle from the start.

The Trailblazers led 43-42 at the break, but trailed by as many as seven points on two different occasions in the second half.

“Give them (Kaskaskia) a lot of credit, they played good and we took a great punch from them,” Franklin said. “But I liked our mental toughness the last five minutes of regulation and overtime. We were tough enough to make the plays we needed to, to come away with the win.”

Sophomore Keith Clemons scored seven of his 21 points in the extra frame to join his fellow classmates in double digits.

“Those three guys (Clemons, Dixon and Francis), they have been in these types of wars before and they responded well,” Franklin said. “Our big three had another big night and gave us the chance to win.”

Jordan Lyons contributed with nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

“I thought Jordan came in and played really well for us,” Franklin said of his reserve post player. “It was good to see the way he responded.”

Franklin mentioned it was a good test for his team but he would have liked to have seen his defense play a little better.

“Defensively, we were not as good as we usually are,” the Trailblazers coach said. “We did not move our feet like we need to. But give credit to Kaskaskia they did a good job of making shots.”

The 92 points allowed marked a season worst for VU.

Thomas Bell (25) and Nottingham (23) combined for 45 points for the Blue Devils.

The Trailblazers have a week to prepare for their next opponent as they travel to Lincoln Trail on Dec. 17.

 

Travis David can be reached at 812-888-6831 or VUathletics@vinu.edu . Follow all Trailblazer athletics on Twitter @VUBlazerSports and on Facebook.

 

NOTE: David Hunter, Voice of the Trailblazers on The Blazer 91.1 WVUB, contributed to this story.

 

 

 

 

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