A controversial ruling on the final play of regulation sent Maryville College into overtime Tuesday night against Covenant.
The Scots had the ball with 0.06 seconds left in the game, trailing Covenant by two points. Not six seconds, six-hundredths of a single second.
Maryville inbounded the ball to Jose Rodriguez, but he missed the initial shot. The basketball bounced once off the cluster of hands underneath the goal, and Chase Morgan grabbed the offensive board and put it back up to send the game into an extra period.
The 0.06-second timer did not begin counting down until Morgan had grabbed the rebound, but the referees initially counted the bucket. After a meeting at halfcourt, they determined that Morgan’s shot was good despite the clock’s late start, and overtime was in fact going to be played, tied at 67-all.
It took 15 more minutes after the controversy for Maryville College to edge out Covenant, 103-99, inside Cooper Athletic Center, in the first triple-overtime game in program history.
“We’re all human. Possibly, he didn’t stop the clock on time, but that stuff happens in basketball sometimes,” Placeres told The Daily Times. “Referees miss calls and make calls. Coaches make the right plays and don’t make the right plays. We’re human. He probably did mess up, but we were fortunate and lucky.
“That’s part of basketball sometimes. To have a great season, sometimes you need breaks. And we caught a break at the end of regulation, to speak very frankly.”
Both teams struggled to get separation in the extra time until Maryville (14-8, 8-2 CCS) pulled away for good in the third overtime.
In the final period, Myles Rasnick twice made both free throws to put the Scots ahead, 93-92 and 97-95, respectively. Both times, though, Covenant (8-14, 3-5 CCS) countered with a game-tying score. Rasnick again put the Scots ahead for a third time, 99-97, on a jumper with 43 seconds remaining, and they made that advantage hold.
Rasnick finished with a game-high 25 points, 16 of which came in the three extra periods. The senior recorded nine points in regulation but went a perfect 10-for-10 at the free-throw line in overtime.
“Free throws, step-backs, great passes, one play after another,” senior Charlie Cochran said of Rasnick. “He was playing amazing, out of his mind tonight.”
The freshman Morgan finished with 20 points in his sixth straight game in double-figure scoring. The back-to-back CCS Rookie of the Week had 16 points in regulation, then added a field goal and two free throws in extra time. Cochran had 17 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and in total, six Scots totaled double digits.
The final play of regulation and all three overtimes only mattered because the Scots blew a 17-point lead with 8:43 remaining in the second half. Covenant went on an extended 19-2 run, tying the score at 61-all with a Jonathan Gernatt 3-pointer, and took a four-point lead with 51 seconds left before Maryville tied it to close regulation.
By surviving with a win, Maryville maintained its half-game lead in the Collegiate Conference of the South (CCS) over LaGrange, who also won Tuesday night against Piedmont, keeping its hopes for a regular-season title three-peat alive. The Scots have over a week off before they close the regular season on the road at Berea and Piedmont next Wednesday and Saturday, respectively.
“Our goal with one week to go — they’re all on the table,” Placeres said. “Our regular-season championship for a third-straight year, we’re a week away from accomplishing that. Hosting a conference tournament, which was another goal, we’re a week away from that. Playing for a conference tournament championship is obviously still alive. While the NCAA Tournament may be a little tough, you just never really know until we finish.
“I’m super happy that with one week to go, we’re competing for championships.”
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