Hayden Lescault catches the ball at the top of the key. He fakes right and drives left. Time is winding down and the clock is below three seconds. Lescault has beaten his man but there is another defender waiting for him in the paint. Lescault gathers the ball to go up for the layup but the defender meets him in the air. Still the clock is ticking away. Lescault manages to see just enough daylight to get off a left-handed scoop shot. There is a collective gasp from the full-capacity audience as they watch the ball slowly roll over in the air, onto the rim, and into the net for the game-tying basket at the 2013 Homecoming celebration.
That basket by Lescault tied the game at 83-83 with 0.6 seconds remaining in regulation and sent the paint-clad crowd into hysteria. The Sea Lions seized that momentum from the crowd and took it into the overtime period to outscore Olivet Nazarene University (11-3) in the final frame en route to winning the game 94-86.
PLNU got 21 points apiece from Lescault and Marek Klassen to lead four Sea Lions in double figures. But it was Lescault who was the go-to guy down the stretch for PLNU. In addition to making the game-tying layup at the end of regulation, he then scored five of his 21 points in the extra time to lift the Sea Lions to the win. The junior from Folsom, Calif., hit 6 of 12 from the field and 8 of 10 at the line to score a season-high 21 points. He also added a career-high nine assists in the win.
Lescault’s drive capped off a comeback for PLNU in the second half, in which it trailed by as many as 10 points. The Sea Lions kept chipping away at the Tigers’ lead, but could never take the lead. PLNU finally tied the game at 81-81 with a layup by AJ Ussery and 2:39 remaining. ONU’s Austin Davis then answered with a jumper before Lescault hit his game-tying layup to force overtime.
In the extra period, PLNU turned up the defensive pressure and held ONU to just 1-for-5 after they had shot at 67 percent in regulation play. PLNU was no better from the field in the extra five minutes but went 9-for-10 at the line to earn the hard-fought victory.
“Our guys kept fighting and fighting to give us a chance to get into overtime,” said Coach Carr. “We made our free throws and got a couple stops when we needed them. We just hung around long enough to keep them on their toes, and we got a win that maybe we didn’t deserve but we’ll take it.”
Ussery scored all eight of his points in the final four minutes of regulation and overtime. Judd Welfringer also chipped in with 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting, and Junior Morgan hit 10 of 12 from the charity stripe en route to scoring 14 points. He also had a team-leading six rebounds.
Austin Davis had 21 points to place five ONU student-athletes in double figures. Zach Wagner had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
PLNU was able to overcome ONU’s great shooting performance thanks to going 29-for-37 at the free-throw line and committing just 14 turnovers compared to ONU’s 24. However, it’s the people off the court who Coach Carr credits with the win.
“The crowd kept us energized and was able to get them out of rhythm a little bit,” said Carr. “I have no doubt in my mind it was our crowd in the second half that helped us win this game.”