Lycoming battled through some uncomfortable minutes Saturday afternoon at Lamade Gymnasium against last-place Elizabethtown, but the final 36 seconds weren't expected to be included in any of those nerve-wracking moments.
The Warriors led the Blue Jays by seven points with 36 seconds and appeared ready to remain within at least a 1/2 game of the top of the Commonwealth Conference before the discomfort quickly returned. Elizabethtown scored seven points over those final frenetic 36 seconds with the help of two steals and forced overtime where it outscored Lycoming by five en route to a 92-87 win.
"We didn't take care of the ball against the press," a disappointed Lycoming coach Guy Rancourt said. "We had the lead and the game was over, but two turnovers gave them opportunities to score and win the game."
Lycoming never led in the overtime, though, the Warriors did tie the game at 84-84 after falling behind by four points twice.
The Warriors trailed by just a point with 1:15 left in overtime after a Phil Wenger free throw and had a chance to take their first lead in the extra five minutes when Anthony Martin took a hard dribble down the left side of the lane. Lycoming's leading scorer never had an opportunity to reach the basket, however, as his shoulder drove into the chest of his Elizabethtown defender and resulted in an offensive foul. The call led to Martin's fifth foul and an eventual technical on Rancourt.
Elizabethtown made the ensuing two free throws before senior guard Joe Renzi made a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left from the top of the key as his teammates counted down the shot clock from the sideline.
Lycoming's Patrick Dougher, who was 3 of 3 from the 3-point line, cut the Warriors' overtime deficit in half with 12 seconds remaining but Ben Cable hit two more free throws and Lycoming missed a three before time finally expired.
The Warriors (12-5), who entered yesterday just a 1/2 game out of the top spot in conference, have lost four of five games and fell to 6-4 in league play. They will play at league-leading Alvernia on Wednesday. Alvernia is 7-2 in the conference and Albright sits a 1/2 game back. Arcadia, like Lycoming, is 6-4.
"Right now we are just another team in the league and we got to find our identity again," Rancourt said.
Elizabethtown (5-10, 3-7), which had lost three consecutive games before yesterday, continued to play a role in the conference chase, despite being at the bottom of the standings. The Blue Jays now own wins at Albright and Lycoming.
"A win like this is momentum for anybody," said Shikellamy graduate Andrew Mantz, who finished with 18 points and nine rebounds. "In this league anybody can beat anybody on any given night."
Martin scored 28 points for the second consecutive game for the Warriors. He was 10 of 10 from the foul line and 9 of 17 from the floor before fouling out with 56 seconds left in overtime.
Ihsaan Davis and Dougher each had 13 points and Chris Foreman and Danville's Michael Rudy added 10 points each for Lycoming.
Cable led all Elizabethtown players with 19 points. Joe Bodnar (15), Lee Eckert (11) and Renzi (12) also finished in double figures.
"We have had so many close games and games where we've been in control and let get away," Elizabethtown coach Bob Schlosser said. "We are learning to not let the bottom fall out. We were leading by nine and they came all the way back. Today, we waited longer than I've liked but we didn't lose our bounce.
"We just kept believing we had a shot and we did."
The shot came from Renzi. The guard from Abington forced overtime with a fadeway jumper near the foul line that kissed high atop the glass before dropping through the basket with two-tenths of a second left.
It completed one of many momentum swings. Elizabethtown led by five points in the game's early stages, but Lycoming led by seven points with 4:48 in the first half before falling behind by one at the break.
The Elizabethtown lead grew to nine points with 12:53 remaining in the second half before Lycoming clamped down defensively and used a 14-0 run to take a five-point lead. William Wingate made a key block on a 3-point attempt and was awarded with a layup to cut Elizabethtown's lead to two points during the spurt and back-to-back Jerald Williams steals led to two more Lycoming baskets that gave the Warriors their first lead since late in the first half.
Lycoming pushed its lead to 10 with 1:51 left before it dwindled to nothing after Renzi's jumper.
"He's clutch," said Mantz.
ELIZABETHTOWN (5-10, 3-7 CC)
Ben Cable 6-16 4-4 19; Andrew Mantz 9-12 0-3 18; Joe Bodnar 5-6 2-3 15; Joe Renzi 5-8 0-0 12; Lee Eckert 4-6 3-4 11; Joe Schwalm 2-11 2-3 7; Will Schlosser 2-5 0-0 5; Phil Wenger 1-1 1-3 3; Tyler Simpkiss 1-5 0-0 2; Ryan Borzager 0-0 0-0 0; Tom O'Connell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-70 12-20 92.
LYCOMING (12-5, 6-4 CC)
Anthony Martin 9-17 10-10 28; Ihsaan Davis 3-6 6-6 13; Patrick Dougher 4-4 2-2 13; Michael Rudy 4-7 2-2 10; Chris Foreman 3-8 2-2 10; Rob Pillow IV 1-4 2-2 5; Jerald Williams 1-7 2-4 4; William Wingate 1-1 0-1 2; John Monkam 0-0 1-2 1; Kevin Anthony 0-1 1-2 1; John Ryan Wolff 0-0 0-0 0; Armani Taylor 0-0 0-0 0; Justin Miller 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-56 28-33 87.
Halftime:?Elizabethtown, 36-35. Regulation:?78-78. 3-point goals--Elizabethtown 10-24 (Cable 3-9; Bodnar 3-3; Renzi 2-3; Schwalm 1-5; Schlosser 1-2; Simpkiss 0-2), Lycoming 7-13 (Dougher 3-3; Foreman 2-5; Davis 1-2; Pillow IV 1-3). Fouled out- Martin. Rebounds--Elizabethtown 37 (Mantz 9), Lycoming 37 (Davis 5). Assists--Elizabethtown 26 (Renzi 11), Lycoming 19 (Williams 9). Total fouls--Elizabethtown 24, Lycoming 24. Technical fouls-Lycoming TEAM. A-678