By Randy Speer, The Circuit.
PARKVILLE, Kansas — Benedictine took No. 16 Park University down to the wire, but squandered two late-game possessions to fall to the Pirates 66-64 in overtime Saturday afternoon in Parkville, Kansas for the Ravens first loss of the year.
Benedictine’s first missed opportunity came in the final seconds of the fourth quarter with the score tied at 56-56 and 6.3 seconds left on the clock.
Sophomore Thomas O’Connor attempted to inbound the ball to junior AJ Goss, instead sailing the pass out of bounds, handing the ball to the Park for the final shot.
“I think it came down to a couple execution things,” Benedictine coach Ryan Moody said. “We had a couple guys in spots they maybe hadn’t been in earlier in the year in late game, things like that.”
The defense held, forcing a contested shot by Park’s Levi Mitchell at the buzzer to send the game into overtime, the third for the Ravens in their first seven games.
Park and Benedictine (6-1, 4-0 Heart) battled back and forth in the extra time, before going up 66-64 with 16 seconds left.
Coming out of a timeout, the Ravens initial attempt at the final play of the game struggled from the start, prompting a second timeout.
The second attempt got senior Jake Schannuth a look at a 3-pointer from the top of the key, which hit back iron, and sophomore Adam Kutney’s put back attempt rattled out as time expired
“We got a great look,” Moody said. “We decieded in that overtime to try and win the game with a three and get out of here and we got a clean look for a our best three-point shooter. … I feel good about the way we played.”
Benedictine got strong performances from both Schannuth and Kutney in the loss as they both finished with 17 points.
Schannuth’s came on a 4 of 12 shooting night including 3 of 9 from beyond the arc. Schannuth wasn’t the only Raven to struggle from deep. After starting 5-for-9 from deep, the Ravens made just two 3-pointers on 12 attempts in the second half and overtime period.
Kutney, who has come into his own posting his fourth-straight double-figure scoring effort, is now shooting 70 percent from inside the 3-point line.
“He has figured out his role,” Moody said on Kutney’s success as of late. “I think early in the season, he was trying to play too much around the three point line and space the floor. … The man is a machine inside.”
The Ravens came out of the gates hot, striking up a 10-5 lead in the first four minutes of the game.
Park (3-1) responded by turning up its full-court press, eventually erasing the Raven lead to make it 18-17.
Benedictine was without senior guards Andre Yates and VeQuan Clark, both who out dealing with illness. Moody said Yates was hit hardest by the bug, missing Tuesday’s game against Clarke and Saturday’s contest with Park.
“This only helps us down the road,” Moody said about the absence of Yates and Clark. “We are going to go through another stretch where somebody is sick or somebody is hurt or somebody gets in foul trouble.”
In their place, Goss and O’Connor have seen an uptick in workload as well as sophomore transfer Kyle Harrison, who played 15 minutes and scored 3 points – the most in his short-Raven career- in the loss.
“The rust is definately coming off,” Moody said on Harrison, who hadn’t played competitively in two years. “We are starting to see the Kyle that did the things we loved out of high school.”
The Ravens answered the Pirate comeback with an 8-0 run to take a 25-18 lead before stretching it out to 32-24 with 3:01 left in the half.
The Pirates closed the quarter on an 8-0 run of their own, sending the game tied at 32-32 in the break.
Benedictine regained control in the second half, taking a 45-40 lead at the midway point.
Park rattled off six-straight points to take its first lead of the second half, kick started by Park’s BJ Watson.
Nothing was the same after Watson got his first bucket to go, as he scored 15 of his team-high 17 points in the final 10 minutes of the second half and five minutes of overtime.
Watson, a big fan of musician Drake – he wore the rapper’s signature shoe and head band, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Park a 54-52 lead with 4:32 remaining.
Harrison knocked in a pair of free throws to tie it at 54-54, then Kutney added a pair to take a 56-54 lead.
Watson sank two from the charity stripe with 2:30 left for the final points of regulation.
Benedictine will have a short turnaround as its next game is Monday Nov. 28 against No. 23 Central Methodist. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 as a part of Student Appreciation night.