Freshman buzzer beater saves Owls
A late-game comeback gives Southern the edge
Sam Tapper – Sports Writer
Levar Allen said he had never hit a buzzer beater during a game in his life.
After a hard-fought battle with the Greyhounds of Assumption College, he could check that off his bucket list as the Owls won a come-from-behind thriller 69-67 at the buzzer.
“I knew it was going in, no questions asked,” said Allen postgame. “I knew that it was going in — it felt right when it left my hand.”
Allen, a freshman, only played nine minutes on the night, split almost evenly between the two halves.
Despite the lack of play time, he found himself on the court during the final possessions. When the Greyhounds missed the front-end of a one-and-one to extend their 67-66 lead, Allen was fouled himself and sent to the line to potentially win it.
Allen is only a 46 percent free throw shooter — hardly the guy to turn to for clutch free throws. However, freshman status aside, Allen calmly sunk the first. He back-rimmed the second, leaving the game tied at 67 with two seconds left.
However, thanks to a tap-out from junior Greg Jones, who played with Allen in high school, he came up with the rebound, took two steps, then threw up a layup which ultimately found the bottom of the net after hanging on the rim as time expired, prompting the students to storm the court in celebration at Moore Field House.
“I knew my team was counting on me. I knew what I had to do at that line — that was to make at least one, at least send us to overtime,” Allen said. “The one that I missed, when Greg tipped it back to me, I knew that it was going in.”
The Owls found themselves locked in a back-and-forth scoring affair in the first half, led by redshirt-junior guard Isaiah Boissard, who scored 14 straight points and had 16 at the break.
“To be honest, [the refs] called a travel on the first one of [my shots],” Boissard said, who finished with a career-high 21 points. “But I shot it anyway and it went in and it just felt good, that’s all I really needed. I’m in the gym every day trying to get shots up, trying to get better, help the team in any way.”
After being down by six at the half and despite Boissard’s effort, Assumption began to take control. Through the first 10 minutes of the second half, it was all Greyhounds as their lead grew from six to 17 in less than a three-minute stretch.
After a three-ball from Assumption’s freshman guard Isiah Gaiter, the Greyhounds had their largest lead of 19, making it 63-44 with 7:37 to play in the game. From that moment, the comeback was on.
“Stay in it, stay composed,” Boissard said of the message in the huddle. “We’ve got to get our stops, convert on the offensive end and that’s what we did.”
The big men got it started, as Jones, who finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds, hit a pair of free throws followed by a transition three from senior Taurus Adams II to cut the lead to 14. Soon after an answered bucket for Assumption, the Owls answered again with a three, this time from Boissard.
“We just started playing harder, a lot of more difficult shots,” said head coach Scott Burrell.
“[Assumption] started playing around with us and I think our team finally got embarrassed and had pride and battled back.”
The Owls went on an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 10 during that stretch, and following a pair of free throws for Assumption, closed the game on a 14-0 run culminating with the Allen buzzer beater.
Ultimately, Southern went on a 25-4 run over the last seven minutes of play, with scorers like junior guard C.J. Seaforth, who shot 5-22 and 2-14 from three in the game, coming alive when it counted and converting for the Owls. This was their third win of the year coming back from at least 10 points down. With the win, they are now 11-7 and 7-4 in the NE-10 with their next game being on the road against Saint Anselm.
“It’s a great win, we battled back, but you’ve got to build momentum to be great,” Burrell said.
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