In Saturday’s matchup against St. Leo, Cedarville senior Branden Maughmer drilled a triple at the buzzer to force overtime and propel the Yellow Jackets to a thrilling 96-93 victory.
The Yellow Jacket’s victory came in their first match of the Florida Southern Classic, held at Florida Southern University, and improved their record to 6-4
Maughmer finished the night as the Jackets’ leading scorer with 21 points and grabbed six rebounds in his return to the lineup after missing two games with a hand injury.
Cedarville had five players including Maughmer in double-figures offensively. Senior Isaiah Speelman dropped 20 points on 7-12 shooting from the field while sophomore Jayvon Maughmer contributed 15 points.
Senior Conner TenHove added 14 points on an efficient 6-9 shooting from the floor and sophomore Grant Whisman scored 12 points in the overtime win.
The Jackets found themselves down 39-34 at halftime after struggling in the first half.
A run offensively sparked Cedarville’s offense at the start of the second half, and the Jackets jumped out to a 42-41 lead with 16 minutes left in the contest.
The Lions and Jackets remained tight for the rest of the half, and with eight minutes to play, Cedarville held a narrow 57-55 advantage.
St. Leo was able to step up defensively and as the Yellow Jackets struggled with ball security, the Lions took the lead and at the under-4 media timeout, the Jackets trailed by eight with the score at 74-66.
After a pair of made free throws, Cedarville picked up the intensity defensively. Momentum started to shift to the Jackets, who went on a run of ten straight offensive possessions with a score.
With only 12 seconds remaining, the Jackets trailed 78-74. Branden Maughmer made a quick layup with 5.9 seconds remaining. Cedarville intentionally fouled to send St. Leo to the line for two free throws.
With the score at 78-76, the Lions went one-of-two from the line. Maughmer quickly gathered the rebound and turned up court.
As the final seconds ticked away, Maughmer loaded up from behind-the-arc and drilled the game-tying three to force overtime with both teams knotted at 79-79
“I knew we needed a quick three,” said Maughmer after the game. “I saw him miss [the free throw] and pushed it and got to my spot. I knew it was going in as soon as it left my hands.”
The Jackets came out firing in extra time as Isaiah Speelman buried the first of his two overtime three-pointers.
Cedarville continued to roll offensively, going up 89-81 and forcing a St. Leo timeout.
Despite St. Leo making two shots to close the gap, the Yellow Jackets were strong at the free-throw line when it mattered, finishing off an impressive 96-93 comeback victory.
“I am really proud of the toughness this team showed yet again,” said head coach Pat Estepp.
Josh Decker is a senior Sport Business Management major, and a sports reporter for Cedars. He loves playing sports with friends, and spends much of his free time as a student assistant for the Cedarville men’s basketball team.