The Blackburn College Men's Basketball Team rallied when it counted in the second half to force overtime and defeat the Principia College Panthers 84-76, on Saturday afternoon in Carlinville. Earlier in the season the Beavers blasted Principia by 40 points in Elsah, but today's game ended up nothing like the first encounter between the teams.
In the first five minutes it did however look like a repeat performance as the Beavers had three dunks and jumped out to a 13-4 lead early. Blackburn led the entire first half before Principia tied the game with three seconds left on two Adaku Anumu free throws.
In the second half, Prinicipia led the game for 19 minutes of the 20 minutes played. With Principia leading 66-60 with 3:25 remaining, Blackburn point guard Jake Maestranzi nailed his sixth three-pointer of the afternoon to pull the Beavers within three. Maestranzi led the Beavers with a season high of 26 points.
After a rare missed three pointer by Anumu, who led all scorers with 35 points, Jamie Moore rebounded and was fouled by Anumu. Moore made one free throw to cut the margin to 66-64 with 2:53 left. Blackburn then had four shots to tie or take the lead until DeAndre Manuel was fouled with five seconds remaining. Manuel made both clutch free throws to tie the game at 66. The Beavers foul shooting was one of their strong suits of the day as Blackburn cashed in on 22 of 26 shots from the line. Principia was unable to get off a game winning shot sending the contest to overtime.
The Beavers came out strong in the extra period scoring ten of the first 13 points. Maestranzi nailed two more three pointers in the first part of the overtime and was clutch down the stretch as he went six for six in the last 30 seconds. Blackburn was a perfect eight for eight from the line in overtime.
Chris Davis added 20 points and Manuel 13 for the Beavers who improve to 8-13 overall and 7-7 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Principia falls to 3-16 overall and 0-14 in the SLIAC.
Blackburn moves up to fifth place in the league and will host Westminster College in another huge SLIAC contest Wednesday night in Carlinville. With eight of the nine playoff eligible teams bunched in the standings each game has huge implications in the standings and in each teams efforts to gain one of the four post-season tournament spots.