Top ranked ‘Blazers fall in overtime - Athletics

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Top ranked ‘Blazers fall in overtime

By TRAVIS DAVID

VINCENNES, Ind. – Playing its first game as the No. 1 ranked team in NJCAA Division I, the Vincennes University Men’s Basketball team stumbled Wednesday night.

The top ranked Trailblazers dropped a heart-breaking 98-96 overtime decision to District 16 foe Olney Central inside the P.E. Complex.

The loss drops VU to 15-1 on the season and ends its 28-game home winning streak.

“We just were not very good tonight and it is my fault,” VU coach Todd Franklin said. “Olney out played us and out coached us tonight.”

The Blue Knights took an eight-point lead with 10 minutes, 44 seconds left in regulation, 63-55.

Then sophomore point guard Keith Clemons willed the Trailblazers back into contention. Clemons scored 14 points in a 6-minute stretch to pull the Trailblazers to within 80-79 with 3:19 remaining in regulation.

A steal and layup from Kevin Kangu gave VU an 85-84 lead with 1:19 remaining, in regulation. The lead marked the first time the Trailblazers led since the 14:49 mark in the second half.

Clemons fed Lony Francis, Jr. for a bucket in the paint and an 87-84 lead in the final minute of regulation.

Knights guard Jalen Moore came away with a loose ball with under 10 seconds left and was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 6.4 seconds left on the clock. Moore calmly connected on all three free throws to tie the game.

“We twice had the game won in the final minute but just did not take care of ball,” Franklin said. “That gave them a chance to be in the game. We did not have to be in that position.”

A last-second shot by Clemons was off mark, sending the game into overtime.

Moore, who was named the NJCAA DI player of the week earlier in the day on Wednesday, scored eight of the Blue Knights’ nine points in the extra session for the win.

Kangu fired a 30-foot shot for the win at the buzzer but it rattled off the back iron.

Kangu paced the ‘Blazers with 20 points, while Francis come off the bench for the first time this season to add 17 points.

George Dixon finished with a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Clemons and Craig Porter added 14 points apiece.

Olney Central, who improved to 14-1 with the win, were led by Moore and Isaih Sulack with 24 points apiece.

“We had a pretty good idea of what we needed to do in this basketball game and we just did not get the job done tonight,” Franklin said. “We had mental errors all night long…leaving this shooter or that shooter. Supposed to take away right hands, but we give them right hands. Any number of things throughout the night just were not good enough. But again, that is on me.

“Hats off to Olney they played a good game, they are a good basketball team. They won, they beat us, we had our chances, we just have to be better moving forward.”


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

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