Fullerton, CA- In the second game of the Hope Classic, Hope International went nose to nose with Central Methodist (Mo.) on Tuesday evening. With his second buzzer beater on the night, Senior Kris Rosales managed to get his shot to fall as time expired to give Hope International a 57-55 win. Rosales finished with a game high 23 points.
The Eagles (5-3) broke the scoring ice with a three pointer a minute into the game.
Rosales scored on the next Hope International possession and following a Central Methodist turnover, Junior Jeremy Kilgore gave Hope International a brief 4-3 lead with just over two minutes ticked off from the game clock.
Central Methodist used an 8-0 run to take an 11-4 lead.
The two defenses stepped up in a big way as the Eagles held the Royals (4-0) scoreless for eight and a half minutes. Hope International kept Central Methodist scoreless for four and a half minutes as well.
With 5 minutes left in the half, Central Methodist owned a 12 point advantage at 21-9 and looked to cruise into the half.
But Hope International turned up their energy and closed out the half with a 15-0 run. Senior Orlando Collins sparked the comeback as he scored six straight points (and 8 of the next 10 points) which included two fast break dunks. Senior Matt Peterson scored the other two of those ten points on an assist from Collins.
Still trailing by two points, Rosales stepped in the passing lane and was fouled scoring on the fast break going the other way. Rosales missed the ensuing free throw but Central Methodist committed a foul on the rebound attempt which set up the final shot of the half with the score tied at 21-21.
Rosales did a little dribbling on the right wing and let a three pointer fly with the clock in the final second of the half. When his shot snapped through the net, the Royals took a 24-21 lead to the break.
Rosales led all players with 12 points at the half.
Hope International held their lead for the first five minutes of the second half. The Eagles took back the lead with a three pointer but Kilgore gave the Royals right back the top spot on the scoreboard with his only three of the game.
That turned out the theme of the second half as the game finished with eight ties and nine lead changes. In fact, neither team would lead by more than 4 points the entire second half.
Central Methodist nailed a three pointer to tie the score at 55-55 with 25 seconds to play. But Rosales had one more trick up his sleeve.
As the clock closed in on triple zeroes, Rosales started from the right wing again but this time circled around toward the free line. Jumping from just inside the free throw line, Rosales let a floater go. The shot kissed off the backboard and then bounced on the rim a time or two before finally falling through the cylinder for the win.
Collins was second on the team with 17 points but topped the team with 8 rebounds.
Head Coach Bill Czech stated, "Central Methodist is very solid defensively. They are tough, discipline, and well coached."
Coach Czech added, "We made a big adjustment in the middle of the game- we had to do things a little more freely. Rosales had great pressure on defense. Offensively, he took it to another gear. Collins played tough and raised the energy level. Kilgore made a few big shots down the stretch. Senior Ryan Jocson came in and played well giving Rosales the rest needed to finish the game. Peterson did a good job on the defensive side and slowed their best player in the post."
The Royals will return to the court for the third time in as many days as they host Southwestern Christian (Okla.) on Wednesday. That game is set for a 7:00 pm start.