Tigers escape Warrensburg, prevail 48-46 in OT thriller
In a true road test in a hostile environment Friday night, the Nevada Tiger varsity basketball team downed Warrensburg, 48-46 in overtime.
Nevada controlled the low-scoring affair most of the way. Trailing 30-24 entering the fourth, Warrnesburg, stormed back, seizing a 39-36 lead late in regulation.
With about 1:30 left in regulation, Braeden Hinton rescued the Tigers from defeat, as the senior forward connected on a game-tying 3-pointer.
“Braeden has confidence, he’s a good shooter,” noted Nevada head coach Shaun Gray. “He’s really good when he can catch it and step into it.”
On the critical play, freshman point guard Logan Applegate, skipped an impressive cross-court pass to Hinton for the assist.
“It was a phenomenal pass from the opposite baseline, through the defense to find him open in the left corner,” recounted Gray. “Our entire team thought it was going in — because that’s what we have in Braeden Hinton — is a clutch shooter. That was his only basket of the game, and it was a big one.”
From there, Warrensburg, attempted to milk the entirety of the game clock, winding it down to under 10 seconds before turning it over. Off the Carter Swearingen steal, Nevada was able to get out in transition, but had the ball stripped away under the basket, with under a second remaining. Off the out of bounds play, Nevada was unable to get a clean look at the basket, sending the game into overtime.
Early in the extra session, a Luke Mackey triple put Warrensburg on top 42-41. Matt Thompson’s 3-ball from the top of the key, however, gave the Tigers the lead for good. A pair of Clay Gayman free throws closed out Warrensburg, as the Tigers held on for the two-point victory.
“We just defended well in overtime,” said Gray. “They went to a 2-3 zone against us late in regulation and in overtime, and Braeden and Matt were able to hit those big shots for us against the zone.”
It was not only Warresnburg’s first home loss of the season, but also the first time the Tigers have won in Warrensburg under Gray, now in his fourth season as Nevada’s head coach.
The WCC victory improves Nevada to 18-3 overall and 9-0 in WCC-play.
This marks the second time this season an opponent has attempted to salt away the final 90 seconds of regulation against Nevada, with the game tied. In December, Webb City attempted the same strategy, and it badly backfired, just as it did for Warrnesburg Friday night. Against Webb in the December matchup, Nevada’s went on to win 61-53 in overtime.
“As a coach, you want to make sure your team gets a good look,” explained Gray. “Warrensburg was able to run a couple of their sets in that final minute, but just never got the shot they wanted. I think switching defenses on the fly was one of the keys for us on that last possession.”
Nevada was paced by Clay Gayman’s team-high 15 points, which included a pair of 3-pointers, and a 9-of-10 night from the charity stripe — while Thompson pitched in 13 points, including a trio of triples.
The Tigers are idle until Thursday, when they’re set to square off with rival El Dorado Springs. The non-conference triple-header is slated for a 7 p.m. tip off from Wynn Gym.