Spalding beats Eureka, heads to National Tourney

(Spalding University Release)

Louisville, KY – The Spalding Golden Eagles men's basketball team won their first SLIAC tournament championship Saturday night, beating the Eureka Red Devils 64-62 in overtime. With the win the Golden Eagles earn a trip to the NCAA tournament in their first year being eligible for post season competition.

Both teams came out tight leading to a sloppy first four minutes of play. SU's Thomas Blakemore scored the game's first points, hitting a 15 foot jump shot to put Spalding on the board 2-0 at the 16:07 mark.

Spalding led 10-8 at the 10:38 mark in the first, but Eureka ran off seven unanswered points over the next minute forty-seven putting the Red Devils up 15-10.

Spalding's Jametrius Brasher had a huge block and hit a jump shot on the other end to spark a 4-0 run making the score 14-15 with seven minutes left in the first half.

Spalding's Will Barber nailed a three pointer to knot the score at 17 apiece with 4:35 remaining in the half.

Despite shooting a poor 1-7 from the free throw line and getting outrebounded 23-16, the Golden Eagles only trailed Eureka 23-24 at the half.

Both teams struggled in the first half as neither team shot above 36 percent from the field. Eureka's Mark Lesson led all first half scorers with 11 points.

Spalding came strong to start the second half as Jametrius Brasher scored on their first possession to give SU the lead, 25-24.

SU's Dominique Sangester converted a nice and-one layup putting Spalding up 33-29 with 15:45 left in the game.

Spalding went on a 9-2 run with 13 minutes left in the game extending their lead to 39-32.

With 11 minutes left in the game, Cody Cutsinger knocked down a big three pointer from the corner to put SU up, 44-37

Eureka fought back, going on a 10-3 run to tie the game 47-47 with 7:45 left in regulation.

SU regained the lead on a layup from Jametrius Brasher with four minutes remaining in the game to making the score 53-51.

Jametrius Brasher came up with a huge block on Eureka's Niko Rivera to keep Spalding on top 55-53 with 1:35 to go.

With the score 55-53, Eureka had the ball looking to tie the game when Spalding's Cody Cutsinger drew a charge on Eureka's Jordan Kindred to preserve the lead.

After a missed Sangester layup Kindred pushed the ball down the court for a game tying layup with 6.9 seconds left on the clock.

With the game tied 55-55, SU's Thomas Blakemore had a chance to win the game with a three at the buzzer, but Blakemore's shot went in and out.

The Golden Eagles began overtime with a Brasher layup to go up 57-55, but Niko Rivera layup tied it 57-57 with 3:58 left in OT.

Spalding went on a crucial 4-0 run with three minutes left in overtime to make the score 61-57.

Eureka countered with a three-point-play by Niko Rivera to pull within one point, at 60-61 with 2:47 left in OT.

SU's Thomas Blakemore fouled Eureka's Jordan Kindred on a three point attempt on Eureka's next possession. Kindred hit 2 of 3 from the line putting Eureka up 62-61 with 1:54 left in overtime.

Senior guard Johnell Hardin's first points of the game came when he drilled the game winning three pointer giving Spalding a 64-62 lead with 53 seconds remaining.

Jametrius Brasher slid in to take a charge from Eureka's Jordan Kindred on what would have been a game tying layup with 44 seconds left to play.

After two missed Johnell Harding free throws Eureka had one last chance to win the game.

EC guard Chuck Misuraca took the inbounds pass with seven seconds remaining. SU's defense locked down on Misuraca forcing him to take a deep contested three pointer at the buzzer that missed long, giving the Golden Eagle's the win.

Jametrius Brasher led Spalding with a stellar performance, scoring 20 points (16 after halftime), six rebounds, and an impressive six blocks. SU's Dominique Sangester also had a solid performance with 11 points and seven rebounds.

Mark Lesson led Eureka with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The Golden Eagles will find out their draw in the NCAA Division-III Tournament during the selection show this Monday, February 23 at 12:30 p.m. EST.