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Men's Basketball News & Highlights

December 04, 2013

Eagles Escape From New York

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Freshman Austin Carroll drove hard to the basket, drawing the foul with 22 seconds left in Wednesday's win. He hit both free throws to put Eastern up 72-71.

PURCHASE, N.Y.--It took all 2,400 seconds of game-time to decide Wednesday night's Freedom Conference opener between Eastern Men's Basketball and the Manhattanville College Valiants, and fortunately for the Eagles, not a tenth of a second more than that. 

Eastern held on to defeat the Valiants 73-71 with freshman Austin Carroll sinking the go-ahead free throw with 22 seconds left.

Manhattanville's Colin Campbell sunk a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded that would have been the game-winner, but the shot was released too late and did not count.

Eagles' head coach Nate Stewart praised the Eagles' defense for coming up with big stops down the stretch that allowed them to hold off the Valiants. He also commended Carroll for his poise in drawing the foul and sinking the clutch free throws. "That's a big situation for a freshman," he said. "He wasn't afraid to attack. He missed a free throw earlier, but he had selective amnesia, and he was able to forget about that one and execute down the stretch."

Carroll finished the game with just those two points, but they were definitely important. Eastern sophomore Malcolm Garrison had a career day (on his birthday, too) scoring 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting (4-for-7 from 3-point range). Eagles' senior Jimmie Willis also had his best offensive day in an Eastern uniform. Willis tallied 21 points and grabbed six rebounds; he also hit two big back-to-back 3-pointers in the second half. "Jimmie played like a man underneath tonight," Stewart said. "And he's got that ability to knock them down from long-range too."  

The Eagles led by as many as 12 points in the second half, but with 2:43 remaining the Valiants had cut that lead to four. Eagles' forward Caleb Knudsen came up with a big rejection in the paint with 2:20 to go to stall the Valiants' advance, but the Valiants' Jack Bramswig made a successful layup with 1:44 to go to bring the score to Eastern 70, Manhattanville 68. Bramswig led the Valiants with 15 points.

The Valiants converted an Eastern turnover into an and-one layup on the next possession, tying the game and taking the lead with the successful free throw.

Now trailing 71-70 with 1:31 to go, Eastern couldn't find a basket on the next possession, and Manhattanville returned the ball to its side of the court with a chance to extend the lead. However, Eastern's defense prevented the Valiants from getting an open look, and the Eagles forced a shot-clock violation.

With the shot clock and game clock just even at 35 seconds, the Eagles, still down one, took the ball upcourt and freshman guard Austin Carroll drove to the basket where he was fouled and sent to the line to shoot two free throws with 22 seconds to play.

Carroll's first free throw swished to tie the game at 71-71. His second free throw rattled around the rim but dropped in to give Eastern the lead 72-71; however, Manhattanville received the ball back with 22 seconds left, still plenty of time to score.

But, once again Eastern's defense prevented Manhattanville from getting a good look at the basket. Valiant's guard Anthony Maestre finally had to toss a desperation 3-pointer from the top of the arc, but slipped in the process and was called for traveling with just over one second remaining. 

Eastern's Shaquan Turk was fouled on the inbounds and he made his first free throw to put Eastern up 73-71 but missed his second free throw and had it rebounded, but the game appeared to be over. However, Bramswig had asked for a timeout on the rebound and the officials put 0.5 seconds on the clock, just enough time for a quick catch-and-shoot.

Manhattanville's Campbell caught the long inbounds on the left wing outside the three-point line, turned and fired and sunk the shot, but the officials correctly ruled that he did not release the shot before the buzzer sounded. With that, the Eagles held on to the 73-71 victory.

This year, the Eagles are certainly familiar with tight end-of-game scenarios, with their overtime exhibition against UMBC, their triple-overtime win against Rosemont and Sunday's overtime loss at McDaniel.

"No game's been easy for us," Stewart said. He added that as a young team, the Eagles will have to continue to learn how to put teams away down the stretch, but he thinks they're capable of doing that.

The Eagles (3-2, 1-0 Freedom) will continue conference play on Saturday when they host Delaware Valley College at 3 p.m.

Box Score 

Updated: Wednesday, 04 December 2013

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