Mounties top Millersville in overtime, clinches PSAC playoff spot
MANSFIELD - Senior Chuck Harper scored a game-high 21 points as the Mansfield University men's basketball clinched a PSAC playoff berth with a hard-fought 82-75 overtime win over Millersville Saturday afternoon in Decker Gymnasium.
Mansfield's win combined with a Kutztown loss to Bloomsburg gave Mansfield at least a berth in the upcoming PSAC playoffs. With one game remaining in the regular season, the Mountaineers still have a chance to host an opening round game.
The game was intense throughout but never as much so as when Mansfield took a 62-59 lead when Chuck Harper hit the front end of two free throws with 1.2 second remaining in regulation play. But Harper missed the second free throw and Millersville's Nate Bollinger grab the rebound and fired off a desperation shot from ¾ length of the court that found the net as time expired and tied the game at 62-62.
A stunned Mountaineer team suffered another setback shortly after when star Joe Bell picked up his fifth foul in the first seconds of overtime and would lose point guard Charles Becoats minutes later with an injury.
Still the Mountaineers found a way to turn adversity into victory. Millersville took a 65-63 lead on a 3-pointer by Brandon Brown at the 3:42 mark before Mansfield's Brady Burke tipped-in a shot 30 seconds later to tie the game at 65-65. The Mountaineers got a pair of free throws from Kenny Johnson to take a 67-65 advantage and another Johnson free throw with just under two minutes gave Mansfield a 68-65 lead.
Burke, a freshman, then hit what was perhaps the most important shot of the day for the Mountaineers when he drained a 3-pointer from deep in the corner to increase the lead to 71-65 with 1:17 remaining.
Millersville closed to 72-69 with 42 seconds left but Mansfield used clutch free throw shooting down the stretch hitting 6-6 in the final forty seconds to finally claim the win.
Harper, who was honored as part of Senior Day after the game, recorded a double-double pulling down 11 rebounds in addition to his 21 points. He also dished out four assists with two steals while playing in all 45 minutes of the game. Joe Bell scored 15 points with six rebounds before fouling out and Charles Becoats had 13 points before being forced to leave the game in overtime. Onyema Utti was clutch down the stretch hitting 3-4 free throws in the final 30 seconds of overtime and scoring 12 points in the game.
Brandon Brown topped four Millersville players in double figures with 20 points.
Mansfield host Kutztown in the regular season finale this Wednesday.