Men's Basketball wins double overtime thriller

By HALEY CROSSON | February 15, 2018

M_Basketball_Flannery

HOPKINSSPORTS.COM

Senior Jesse Flannery made two clutch free throws at the end of overtime.

The Hopkins men’s basketball team won a thriller on Saturday in their last regular season game in Goldfarb Gym. They upset the 11th-ranked Swarthmore College Garnet 93-91 in double overtime. The weekend victory marked their second double-overtime win against a ranked opponent of the week. 

The game against Swarthmore was a back-and-forth battle during the first 10 minutes. Senior guard Jesse Flannery helped the Blue Jays pull away with a clutch jumper from the foul line midway through the first half. His jumper sparked a 9-0 run by the Jays, and he finished the game with a career-high 15 points. His most important points came at the end of the first overtime, as he sunk two foul shots to tie the game up with just half a second left in the period. 

The Blue Jays secured the win on Saturday by shooting close to 50 percent from behind the arc. They made 14 out of their 30 three-point attempts, counting for a total of 46.7 percent from beyond the arc. Junior guard Michael Gardner converted four of his five three-point attempts. Flannery, senior forward Kyle Doran and freshman guard Joey Kern all made three three-pointers to help the Blue Jays.

“Our focus the whole game was to drive the ball hard from the perimeter and get the ball in the post to our big men,” Flannery said. “Once they adjusted to our aggression, we did a really good job of finding the open man and got a lot of open threes.”

The Jays would head into halftime with a 33-24 lead. Utilizing this momentum, the Jays increased their lead to 54-44 at the 7:55 mark of the second half following a three-pointer from Gardner. 

“On offense, we moved the ball extremely well and took advantage of what they gave us, leading to a lot of open threes that we capitalized on,” Gardner said. “Down the stretch, we kept hitting big shot after big shot.”

Swarthmore nevertheless put up a great fight the whole game. That fight led to a 15-5 run in response to Gardner’s three-pointer. 

The Garnet run was spurred by a layup by junior Cam Wiley, who led Swarthmore with 19 points in 38 minutes.

After the Garnet tied it up at 59, the game would be a battle, with neither team leading by more than four points. Doran would knock down one of two free throws with 15 seconds remaining in regulation to force the first overtime.

In the overtime period, the Jays did not lead a single time. They went down by as many as four points with 23 seconds left in the game. A three-pointer from Kern and a missed free throw from Swarthmore set the stage for Flannery’s two free throws to send the game to a second overtime.

The second overtime was back and forth, with both teams trading slim leads. A layup from junior forward Joey Fitzpatrick tied the game with 21 seconds left, but freshman guard Conner Delaney misguidedly fouled Wiley to give the Garnet a chance to take the lead.

Wiley only made one of two free throws, opening the door for Hopkins. Gardner pushed the tempo and knocked down another three-pointer from the wing to put the Blue Jays up by two with six seconds remaining. 

“When we lost a lot of our bigs to foul trouble, we moved to a quicker lineup which was tough for them to keep up with. It’s a real testament to how this team truly believes that we can win no matter what the circumstances,” Gardner said. “We will play to the final whistle always.”

Delaney added a game-high seven assists, along with 11 points. Delaney is just three assists away from 100 on the season. Junior forward Daniel Vila was also a key performer for the Blue Jays until he fouled out late into the game. He finished the game with 15 points and a team-high nine rebounds. 

The Blue Jays impressed a crowd of 700 people in Goldfarb Gym on Senior Day. Players Flanner and Doran are seniors who will graduate at the end of the semester. 

“[Saturday] was an awesome experience. I’ve loved playing at home the last four years because we have great students that show us a ton of support. Saturday night was no different,” Flannery said. “That might be the best crowd we’ve gotten in my time here. It was a great way to go out.” 

Hopkins will play their last game of the regular season on Saturday at Haverford College at 2 p.m. 

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