With time winding down and the game tied in double overtime, Kentucky State University sophomore Quentin Henderson let a baseline floater fly.
He had a pretty good feeling it was going in.
“It felt excellent when it left my hand,” Henderson said. “I was lucky enough for it to drop.”
Henderson’s floater with 1.3 seconds to go lifted KSU to an 88-86 win over LeMoyne-Owen College in Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play Thursday night at the Exum Center. Henderson also made a pair of free throws with 7.3 seconds remaining in the first overtime to send the game into a second overtime.
After squandering a 17-point lead in the second half, the Thorobreds (10-9, 8-5) pulled through in the clutch to beat the Magicians (6-13, 4-7) for the second time in less than two weeks and extend their season-long winning streak to six games. The Thorobreds have won eight of their last nine overall to eclipse the .500 mark for the first time since a season-opening win against Asbury University.
“They’ve been tremendous as far as buying in to what I’m teaching them and what I’m telling them and they’re getting the results,” said KSU coach Antwain Banks, whose team wore special pink warmup shirts for its annual “Pink Game.”
After senior Troy Adams made the second of two free throws to tie the game at 86-all with 54.1 seconds left in the second overtime, KSU forced a jump ball, gaining possession and setting up the game-winning play.
With the ball in Adams’ hands and nowhere to go and time running out, he found Henderson in the corner. Henderson shot faked, took a dribble along the baseline and put up a 10-foot floater that went through with 1.3 seconds remaining.
Junior Daquavion McCants-Wilson’s desperation heave as time expired just missed, hitting off the back of the rim.
“I couldn’t ask for a better performance at the end,” Banks said. “Just collectively everybody buying in to each other and just making the right play and it actually was the winning play at the end of the game.”
Adams made six 3-pointers on his way to 21 points and junior Ulysses Thomas III added three 3s to finish with 20 points for the Thorobreds.
Henderson finished with 15 points, junior Devan Crain had 11 points off the bench and senior Brandon Darrett added seven points and 11 rebounds.
Junior Daequan Mitchell-Fields hit four 3-pointers to finish with 18 points and junior Marcel Hawkins added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Magicians. Freshman Demba Konate finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.
Trailing 26-23, KSU ended the first half on a 19-4 run, capped by Adams’ 3 at the buzzer that made it 42-30.
The Thorobreds led by as many as 17 in the second half and their margin was 10 with five minutes to go after back-to-back 3s from Adams — the first an off-balance one from the wing that just beat the shot clock and the second a banked-in one from the top - made it 65-55.
But LOC scored 14 of the final 18 points of regulation to force overtime. Freshman Denzel McDaniel made the second of two free throws with 13 seconds to tie it at 69-all and Crain’s jumper was off as time expired.
Mitchell-Fields opened the first overtime with a bucket to give the Magicians their first lead since the first half, and they led 80-78 after Mitchell-Fields hit a 3 and McCants-Wilson made the second of two free throws with 25.6 seconds left.
Henderson was then fouled and made a pair of free throws to tie it and Mitchell-Fields missed a 3 as time expired to send the game into a second overtime.
“It was a big game, big win. We showed a lot of heart at the end,” Henderson said. “The team pulled together and was able to fight and show that we are getting better as a team.”
“We just have to stay humble and continue to grow. Tomorrow we’re right back into the gym to get better.”
KSU hosts Miles College Saturday at 3 p.m.
LeMOYNE-OWEN (86) — Denzel McDaniel 5, Antoine Williams 4, Daequan Mitchell-Fields 18, Nick McHenry 4, Daquavion McCants-Wilson 4, Jean Mathieu 4, Timothy Ware 8, Marcel Hawkins 15, Victor Shell 2, Jerry Hampton 6, Demba Konate 16.
KENTUCKY ST. (88) — Ulysses Thomas 20, Darquell Pulliam 5, Markus Montague 2, Darrien Wilkins 4, Brandon Darrett 7, Quentin Henderson 15, Antonio Sullivan 3, Troy Adams 21, Devan Crain 11.