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Bearcats edge Flagler in overtime thriller for first road win

Bearcats edge Flagler in overtime thriller for first road win

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The Lander men's basketball team withstood a late rally by Flagler and held on in overtime to earn the team's first road of win of the season on Saturday, beating the Saints 90-88, in a Peach Belt Conference game. 

Elijah Alston led the Bearcats (5-9, 4-4 PBC) with 19 points and 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. DeShundre Rucker scored 15 points and Rahu Purdie netted 11 of his 14 points in the second half and overtime. Sidney Robinson and Justin Holiday came off the bench to score 12 points and grab 10 rebounds, respectively. 

Flagler (5-7, 2-4 PBC) was led by Vaughn McCall, who finished with 29 points. 

Lander grabbed an early 7-0 advantage and held the lead until the 9:37 mark of the first half. From there, the teams would exchange leads the rest of the period before a Purdie free throw sent the clubs to halftime deadlocked at 34-34. 

Flagler built a seven-point lead with 14:51 remaining in regulation, but five consecutive points from Jordan Dingle put Lander back in the game. The Bearcats reclaimed the lead and went up six points on an Alston made free throw with 1:03 to go. The Saints pulled within one before Purdie was fouled with eight seconds left. The senior made one to give Lander a 79-77 lead, but Flagler tied the game at 79-79 on a pair of free throws with 2.6 seconds remaining and Lander's ensuing inbound was deflected to send the game to overtime. 

Both teams traded points through the first two and a half minutes of overtime before Robinson's driving layup put Lander up 85-83 with 2:28 to go. After a pair of empty possessions, Lander forced a Flagler turnover as Alston came up with the loose ball. Out of a timeout, Purdie buried a three-pointer with 1:04 on the clock to give the Bearcats a five-point lead. However, the Bearcats fouled a three-point attempt on Flagler's next trip down the floor and McCall knocked down all three shots to pull the Saints within two. 

Lander turned the ball over on its next possession, leading to a Flagler layup to knot the score at 88-88. Purdie was fouled with 41 seconds remaining and made both free throws to give Lander a 90-88 lead. 

The Saints missed a pair of three-point attempts on their next trip down the floor and had a look at a game-winning three with four seconds left, but McCall's shot from the right corner barely grazed the rim as time ran out.