The underhanded shot has gone the way of the dinosaur, but Aaron Edwards’ unconventional tip-in as time expired gave Columbia College a victory against MidAmerican Nazarene on Saturday.
The Cougars defeated the Pioneers 71-69 in their second game of the Thanksgiving Classic at the Arena at Southwell Complex.
“We’re always supposed to follow the shot, so I just followed it, tipped it and by the grace of God it went in,” Edwards said.
Khamari Ballard’s put-back tied the game at 69 with slightly fewer than two minutes left. Andre Amos, who led the Cougars with 22 points and six 3-pointers, grabbed an offensive rebound and called timeout with 27 seconds left to give Columbia College the last shot.
He missed a 3-pointer fading away with about five seconds left, but Edwards won a frantic race to the loose ball and deflected it in the basket with his right hand from about 8 feet.
Amos was named the Most Valuable Player of the two-day Thanksgiving Classic, and Edwards made the All-Tournament team. Amos hit 13 3-pointers in two games.
“It feels good when you play unselfishly and you still get an MVP,” Amos said. “My teammates found me and I knocked down open shots. I can’t ask for better than that.”
The Cougars (8-1) shot 40.3 percent to the Pioneers’ 53.7 percent, but 3-point shooting was a bigger discrepancy. The Cougars hit 15 3-pointers and the Pioneers made 3.
Although the teams had contrasting styles and players, neither team could take advantage of mismatches to build a large lead. The Cougars trailed 39-37 at halftime, there were 11 lead changes and the Pioneers’ 51-42 advantage early in the second half was the largest for either team.
“It was back and forth the whole game, but luckily we got the last shot,” Amos said.
Columbia College coach Bob Burchard primarily played a four-guard lineup, but the Cougars had 13 offensive rebounds to the Pioneers’ nine.
For most of the first half, the Pioneers (5-5) left point guards Malcolm Mahogany and Edwards virtually unguarded on the perimeter and dared them to take shots. The Pioneers were trying to counteract the Cougars’ superior quickness, Burchard said. Mahogany made 2-of-10, but when the Pioneers left Edwards open, he made them pay with four first-half 3-pointers. Edwards was the Cougars’ second-leading scorer with 16.
David Peterson led the Pioneers with 22 points, but he missed all seven of his 3-point attempts.
On Friday night, the Cougars beat Avila 72-58. Amos scored 27, including seven 3-pointers. Mahogany nearly had a triple double with 12 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
The undersized Cougars grabbed 14 offensive rebounds and gave up two.
Missouri Baptist also won both of its Thanksgiving Classic games. It defeated the Pioneers 90-87 in overtime Friday, and it beat Avila 73-68 on Saturday.