Gonzaga 69, O'Connell 61
Seventh-ranked Gonzaga weathered No. 2 O'Connell's third-quarter rally, overcame its own fourth-quarter meltdown and then, with the help of guards Lorenzo Miles and Stanley Hodge, did just enough in three overtimes to pull out a 69-61 victory in front of approximately 2,500 spectators last night at Bender Arena.
Miles and Hodge combined for 25 points in the fourth quarter and the overtimes, including 11 of the Eagles' 13 points in the third extra session to lift Gonzaga (16-3, 7-1 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) to its biggest victory of the season. The loss was the first for O'Connell (15-2, 6-1) in league play.
"I'm glad we hung in there," said Miles, who finished with a team-high 20 points. "We let them come back into the game, but we kept fighting, kept playing good defense and got some help from our bench players when our stars fouled out."
O'Connell rallied from a 26-17 halftime deficit behind the strong inside game of Brian Johnson (team-high 20 points) and Dave Neal (13 points). The Knights took a two-point lead with 20 seconds left in regulation but could not close out the Eagles, who got a reverse layup from Hodge with five seconds left to force overtime tied at 41.
That, however, was just the start of the thrills.
O'Connell managed to stave off defeat twice in overtime. First, Erik Smith forced a second extra session by sinking an off-balance, side-armed three-pointer off the glass at the buzzer, tying the game 51. Then Johnson followed Smith's miss with a dunk at the buzzer in the second overtime to tie the game at 56.
Gonzaga, playing without inside players Antwan Harrison and Luke Owings (both fouled out in the first overtime) outlasted the Knights, making 11 of 14 free throws in the third overtime -- seven were made by Miles -- to pull away for the victory.
"I've been coaching 39 years, and I'm not sure I've ever been involved with a game that had so many ups followed immediately by downs," Gonzaga Coach Dick Myers said. "It was wild."
Hodge, who finished with 18 points, added: "I don't even know what to say after a game like that. Dana Leary and Taurean Marshall made some big shots, but Lorenzo and I just decided to carry the team down the stretch. It's our best win by far."