By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, Ohio---Kenny Jones (Clay/South Bend, Ind.) threw down several monstrous dunks in the second half, and John Murry (North Central/Indianapolis, Ind.) scored a team-high 29 points and broke a school record to lead the No. 14 Owens Community College men's basketball team to a thrilling 107-102 overtime win over No. 11 Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in the SHAC today.
The win clinched a share of a second straight Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) championship for Owens. They will now get a quarterfinal round bye in the Region XII District 11 tournament, and they will open postseason play as the No. 2 seed with a semifinal matchup against the winner of Tuesday's quarterfinal between No. 3 seed Cincinnati State and No. 6 seed Columbus State Community College.
Early in today's game, Owens jumped out to a 16-8 lead through the first five minutes with points coming from seven different players. Three minutes later, Owens got a 3-pointer from Murry to take a 26-19 lead. At that point, Cincinnati State produced a 9-0 run to take a two-point lead and force a timeout by Owens.
Out of the timeout, Owens got a jumper from Murry to tie the game, followed by a 3-pointer in transition from CJ Bussey (Central Catholic/Toledo, Ohio) that put Owens up 31-28 with 7:41 left in the half. With five minutes remaining, that lead was pushed to six on another 3-pointer, this time from Edmond Early Jr. (Thurgood Marshall/Dayton, Ohio).
Down the stretch in the first half, Owens held a six point advantage multiple times, but Cincinnati State trimmed their deficit in half at the break.
Cincinnati State then continued the momentum to open the second half and took a 55-50 lead with 16:23 left.
That's when Jones entered the picture. After a 3-point play from Darren Groves (Thurgood Marshall/Dayton, Ohio), Groves got a steal and dished to Shaakir Lindsey (Teaneck/Teaneck, N.J.), who lofted a pass to Jones, who then threw down a dunk to tie the game at 55 with 15:32 left.
The dunk by Jones was followed by a 3-pointer from Pete Firlik (Catholic Central/Grand Rapids, Mich.) and a layup from Early Jr. Jones then threw down another alley-oop dunk to cap a 12-0 run to put Owens up 62-55 with 13:01 remaining.
The lead was up to 11 on a layup from Lindsey with just over 10 minutes left, but Cincinnati State answered with six straight points. From then on, Cincinnati State gradually chipped away at the lead before eventually tying the game at 85 with 3:10 left.
Groves responded for Owens by hitting one of two at the foul line before tipping in a miss to put Owens up 88-85 with 1:21 left. After each team missed a scoring opportunity, Davion Ashe buried a deep 3-pointer from the right wing for Cincinnati State with 11 seconds left to tie the game. After a timeout, Murry missed a contested jumper at the buzzer to send Owens to its fifth overtime game of the season.
Owens set the tone immediately in overtime by scoring the first four points as Jones got a second chance jump shot in the paint, followed by a fast break dunk from Murry. Moments later, Murry hit a 3-pointer to push the lead to five and Lindsey followed with a pair of free throws to put Owens up 97-90 with 2:56 left.
Up 99-92, Murry grabbed a defensive rebound and dished to Groves, who failed to finish a fast break layup on the right side of the rim. Cincinnati State's Alexandre Baptiste grabbed the defensive board and pushed the ball up to the team's 3-point specialist, Cory Smith, who drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner to cut his team's deficit to four with just under two minutes left.
Playing in his final home game, Murry responded with a 3-point play to push the lead back up to seven. Then, with 1:09 left, Lindsey dished to Groves for a powerful one-handed dunk to give Owens a 104-97 lead.
The game wasn't over as Cincinnati State went on a 8-1 run to trim their deficit to three with four seconds left, but Lindsey made a pair of free throws to seal the conference championship.
Murry, who had 16 of his game-high 29 points in the second half and overtime, finished 8-for-13 from the field (4-for-7 from 3-point range) and 9-for-12 from the foul line.
Lindsey added 17 points and a game-high nine assists off the bench, and Jones was third on the team in scoring with 15, while adding a game-high 17 rebounds and five blocks.
Three others also reached double figures for Owens including Firlik (12 points, 7 rebounds), Groves (12 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Early Jr. (11 points, 7 assists).
Cincinnati State's Grover Anderson also scored a game-high 29 points, but it took him almost 30 shots to do so. The freshman guard finished 8-for-28 from the field and 13-for-15 from the foul line.
All five starters for Cincinnati State reached double figures, while Smith added 11 off the bench. Aside from Anderson, the others were James Kilpatrick (17 points, 16 rebounds, 4 steals), Ashe (17 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists), Baptiste (10 points, 12 rebounds) and Larry Johnson (10 points).
Despite turning the ball over 12 more times than Cincinnati State (19 to 7), Owens got a 13-for-31 (41.9 percent) finish from 3-point range. Cincinnati State also outworked Owens on the offensive glass, 28-21, but Owens held a 55-52 overall advantage in rebounds.
With the win, Owens closed the regular season at 24-6 overall and 12-2 in OCCAC play. Cincinnati State falls to 24-6 overall and 11-3 in OCCAC play. The teams split the regular season series with Cincinnati State coming out on top 86-73 at home on Jan. 31.
Owens has now reached the century mark in scoring in six straight and 16 games overall this year. They are averaging 97.7 points per game overall, and they closed the conference season with a 100.1 points per game average.
With his 9-for-12 performance from the foul line today, Murry became the program's all-time leader in career free throws attempted. He previously broke the free throws made record. Both records were previously held by Jeff Massey (1991-93), who went 260-for-362 in his career. Murry is now 271-for-365 in his career, and he has 1,079 career points.
Owens is now 4-1 in five overtime games this year. Their only loss is to current No. 1 Schoolcraft College on Dec. 20, 106-101.