View Video Westmont's Jordan Sach's capped a career scoring night (25 points, 10 rebounds) with a half-court buzzer beater to give Westmont Men's Basketball (11-3) a 73-71 overtime win against South Dakota Mines (9-6) on Thursday night in Murchison Gymnasium.
"With about ten minutes in the game," said Westmont head coach John Moore, "I said to (assistant coach) Jeff Azain, ‘Where would we be without Jordan Sach's tonight?' Jordan was incredibly valuable in all the ways we needed him to be. Then he had an exclamation point with his three-point shot to end the game."
The Warriors led by as much as seventeen points in the second half. However, a 10-0 run by the Hardrockers in the final minute of regulation, resulted in a 65-65 score as the clock expired.
"South Dakota Mines plays with great heart and great expectation," said Moore. "I thought they played with a hunger in the late game that made them think they would come back and win the game, and they almost did."
Westmont missed on six free throw attempts in that last minute while South Dakota Mines couldn't miss. Caleb Shockman scored six of his 13 points as the second-half clock ran down and Troy Whiteto (18 points) laid the ball in the basket with two second remaining to send the game into overtime.
The Warriors struck first in the bonus period with an ‘and-one' layup by Daniel Carlin (9 points, 4 rebounds), but then gave up two free throws to Andrew Rebol (11 points, 5 rebounds). Konor Kulas (9 points, 6 rebounds) added two free throws to the Hardrockers totals as South Dakota Mines took a 69-68 lead with 3:30 to play in the extra frame.
Two free throws by Preston Branson (9 points), restored a one-point advantage to the Warriors before Rebol's two from the charity stripe made the score 71-70 with 1:31 left. Neither team scored again until Sachs' heroics brought an end to the game.
With 3.1 seconds remaining, Sachs grabbed a defensive rebound off a free throw attempt by Kulas and dribbled to mid-court. An analysis of the film revealed that Sachs leaped into the air and released the ball a fraction of a second before the backboard lights lit up, signaling the end of the game.
The ball hit the backboard and then bounced off the inside curve of the front section of the rim and hit the backboard again. The ball then hit the front of the rim again, then the shoe and the front of the rim once more before falling through the net.
"Jordan practices half-court shots against Coach Azain after every practice," noted Moore. "It was not by accident that he made that one. As soon as it left his hand I said, ‘maybe'. Then when it hit the backboard and bounced around I said, ‘oh no'. But it settled there, time stood still and it settled into the basket."
Westmont players mobbed Sachs on the floor as fans celebrated in the stands.