Bearkats Win O.T. Thriller 65-63 Over UC-Irvine
by Cheval John
Huntsville, TX-The Bearkat basketball team was pushed to their limits yesterday against a really good University of California-Irvine Anteaters in the final game of the Progressive Legends Classic Subregional.
The Bearkats knew that they had to give it their all if they wanted to beat an Anteater’s team that went toe to-toe with UCLA Bruins a week ago and narrowly losing to Southern Mississippi the day before.
They did just that in overtime behind a go-ahead, game-winning shot by Darius Gatson with 15 seconds left for a 65-63 win over UC-Irvine.
“I came off the screen. … .I was hoping to turn the corner and got some contact and I was able to get the shot,”
“It was a big play for us.”
The Bearkats totaled 47 rebounds in the game. Most of the rebounds came on the offensive side of the ball that produced 18 second chance points.
Terrance Motley and Michael Holyfield had eight rebounds apiece.
“They both played really well,” head coach Jason Hooten said.
“Defensive end is technique and offensive end is just heart. We got 17 offensive rebounds. That’s just the will to go get it.”
“(Terrance) Motley got five and (Michael) Holyfield got four. … .That give’s you extra possession everytime.”
The Bearkats opened the game on a 12-2 run. They were leading 19-9 at one point before UC-Irvine came storming back with a 10-1 run of their own to cut the lead to 20-19.
When it was all said and down, the Bearkats were leading 30-25 at halftime.
Then things got really interesting as the Anteaters opened the second half on a 6-0 run to take a 31-30 lead behind a three-pointer by Mike Best and a pair of buckets by Will Davis II.
From there, it was an all-out battle by both teams as they were five lead changes and three ties.
With the score tied at 58, the Bearkats had an opportunity to win it in regulation, but couldn’t convert that allowed the game to go into overtime.
UC-Irvine went on a 5-3 run to lead at 63-61 with about two minutes left in overtime.
“I was sitting there thinking, ‘we’re going to win this game,'” Hooten said.
“Even when we got down in overtime, I just knew one of these guys were going to make a play.”
That turned out to be the case.
After Motley’s free throw that cut the lead to 63-62, Gatson made a huge steal that gave the Bearkats a shot at winning the game in the final seconds.
Gatson, who finished with 13 points, drove to the basket and laid it in for the go-ahead score at 64-63.
UC-Irvine couldn’t convert to tie it up and Gatson made one of his free throws to increase the lead to 65-63.
Then in desparation, the Anteaters threw up a prayer, but missed with time running out with the Bearkats celebrating a huge win.
DeMarcus Gatlin lead the Bearkats with 15 points, five rebounds and one steal.
Adam Folker led UC-Irvine with 13 points while Davis II had 12.
With thanksgiving weekend, the players and coaches will use this time to rest before they get back to work in preparation for Tuesday’s matchup against the University of Texas at Austin.
“It’s another game for us,” Hooten said.
“I know they’re really good. They won two out of three in Maui and I know they will be ready.”
“We will be ready too.”
The Longhorn’s only loss in Maui came against Charminade, a D-II school, but coach Hooten doesn’t see this game as a David vs. Goliath match.
“I wouldn’t look at it like that,” Hooten said.
“This may sound crazy to everybody, but we expect to go play well and have a chance to win no matter who we play.”