By Jeremy Balan
The Lincoln boys basketball team went from anguish to elation in about four seconds on the road Tuesday against Marshall.
Trailing by a point with 5.4 seconds left on the clock, Lincoln senior guard James Gurr inbounded the ball to junior forward Davion Telfor at the right-hand elbow and sprinted toward the basket.
Telfor then hit the cutting senior with a pass and Gurr made a two-handed, contested layup while being fouled with a second remaining to give the Mustangs a roller-coaster 76-75 Academic Athletic Association win.
“Coach just told us to look for the back door and I told him I got it,” Gurr said. “I took it into my hands and I knew I had to make the layup. I just had to get it. It was a crazy game – ups and downs – but we came out on top.”
The Phoenix (6-6, 2-1) pulled ahead moments before Gurr’s final basket when junior guard Mizell Parker appeared to miss a crucial opportunity.
At the free-throw line with Marshall trailing 74-72 and 18 seconds remaining, Parker made the first attempt, but missed the second. Lincoln center Seth Snoddy came down easily with the rebound, but Parker snuck behind the 6-foot-7 senior, stole the ball away and was sent back to the free-throw line after being fouled in the act of shooting.
Parker drained the next two free throws to give the Phoenix their last lead of the game, but early on, it appeared they would be run out of their own gym.
Lincoln (7-11, 3-0) jumped out to an early 22-5 lead on the strength of 11 first-quarter points from Telfor, but the Phoenix chipped away gradually and outscored the Mustangs in each of the final three quarters.
Behind the hot shooting of Parker – who finished with a game-high 29 points – and senior guard Aumen Holliday, Marshall took its first lead of the game at 50-49 with 2:57 remaining in the third quarter, but the lead would shift hands seven times after that.
“As long as they kept on fighting, I felt we had a chance,” said Marshall head coach Dezebee Miles. “That’s a good team we played tonight and I knew they weren’t going to quit. It was just a matter of us being poised at the end. We came from so far behind and fought the whole game. If we would have won, it would have been great, but I accept their effort tonight. They didn’t quit on us.”
Marshall’s largest lead was a 70-63 with 2:33 remaining, but Lincoln responded with an 8-0 run to retake the lead, before losing it two more times the game finished.
“Aumen and Mizell got hot there, and I don’t know how we did it, but we got behind in the fourth quarter and got a couple of stops,” said Lincoln head coach Matt Jackson.
The contest had plenty of late-game fireworks, but midway through the first quarter there was a crucial development that impacted the rest of the game. Marshall center Albert Collins, at 6-foot-5 the only Phoenix player that could match up with Snoddy, picked up his third foul in the first quarter and missed the rest of the first half and much of the second.
“If he gets [in foul trouble], I have to decide if I take him out or let him play,” Miles said. “I let him play and he had three fouls in the first half.”
From that point forward, Snoddy dominated inside. The senior scored a team-high 25 points and took in 21 rebounds (10 offensive), which nearly equaled Marshall’s rebounding total as a team. Snoddy’s most crucial basket gave the Mustangs back the lead with 43 seconds remaining, when the pressing Phoenix left the center all alone behind the defense for an easy score.
“Having four fouls [in the second half], Albert couldn’t commit to defending Seth the way he needed to,” Jackson said. “Seth got some buckets right at the hoop and that really helped. We wanted to get Albert in foul trouble early and once we did that, we knew we had a definite size advantage. But still, their guards really kept them in the game.”
Seth Snoddy – 25
James Gurr – 19
Davion Telfor – 16
Demetrius Williams – 10
Douglas Snoddy – 4
Mizel Parker – 29
Aumen Holliday – 24
Jason Smith – 17
Keyon Hiedelburg – 3
Albert Collins – 2