Buzzer-Beating Layup Downs Pirates, 85-84, In Lakeland
LAKELAND, Fla. - Kevin Capers' layup as time expired gave the Florida Southern Mocs an 85-84 win over the visiting Armstrong Atlantic State University men's basketball team in the championship game of the Terrace Hotel/Ledger Media Group Classic on Saturday evening in Lakeland, Fla.
Capers' layup off an inbounds play with 3.2 seconds left handed Armstrong (3-1) its first loss of the season, while Florida Southern improved to 4-1 on the season.
Armstrong jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the game's first three and a half minutes and led by seven, 33-26, with 3:29 left in the first half. But Florida Southern ended the half on a 12-0 run to take a five-point lead into intermission, 38-33.
In the second half, Armstrong drew even on a layup by Chris Vanlandingham at the 15 minute mark, and the Pirates and Mocs were all tied at 80-80 with three minutes remaining. Two free throws from DeVon Jones with 2:52 left put the Pirates up by two, but Florida Southern answered with a three-pointer by Seth Evans with 1:43 left to put the host Mocs up by one, 83-82.
Aric Miller's free throw tied the game up again at 83-83 with 1:23 remaining. Keyshore Williams came up with a steal underneath the basket and was fouled by Evans with 57.9 seconds left, connecting on one free throw to put Armstrong up by one, 84-83, and lead to the game-winning play by the Mocs.
The contest mirrored last season's meeting between these two teams in Lakeland when Rion Rayfield made two free throws with 11.7 seconds remaining, then blocked the game-winning shot attempt in a 79-78 win by the Mocs.
"We didn't come out and play with a lot of emotion in the first half," Armstrong head coach Jeremy Luther said. "In the second half, we battled back and played better.
"We had the play sniffed out," Luther said on the in-bounds play with 3.8 seconds left. "When we knocked it out of bounds, they set up with something different that we didn't see. We defended it well, but didn't get any help when he [Capers] drove past our point guard. We'd been doing that all game, but everyone stood around when that happened."
Armstrong shot 54.8 percent from the field in the second half and hit 30-of-67 shots from the floor (44.8 percent) for the game, while Florida Southern hit 31-of-70 shots from the floor (44.3 percent). The Pirates finished the night 8-of-16 from three-point range (50 percent) while Florida Southern hit 8-of-15 (53.3 percent) from long range. Armstrong made 16-of-24 free throws (66.7 percent) while Florida Southern made 15-of-24 free throws (62.5 percent).
Armstrong returns to action on Saturday, December 3, hosting Flagler in both teams' Peach Belt Conference opener at 3:30 p.m. at Alumni Arena.