Written and media by Justin Willis.
During the previous week of events, the Greenville Men’s Basketball Team had their ups and downs. It started with last Wednesday night against Fontbonne. Greenville, who was 9-3 in conference at the time, came in the game projected to win at large with no contest against a team who was just 1-11 in the conference. As we all know, sometimes things do not go the way we would like. In this game, we caught ourselves in a tough spot from the beginning by shooting just 35% in the first half and getting into foul trouble. The Panthers headed into the half down 78-62. After the game, Junior Guard, Swade Edwards, was asked to give his view coming to the second half. His reply was, “We all came to the agreement that needed to flush what happened in the first half and play our game in the second half.”
In the second half, things looked to be more positive for Greenville, and they began clicking. The game was back and forth, as the fans started rallying behind Greenville to make a comeback. In the final seconds, Greenville was up 142-141. The crowd went crazy when guard Josias Parker threw up a prayer as the shot clock went off, giving Greenville the lead at 144-141 with 24 seconds left on the clock. Unfortunately, Greenville fouled a shooter a few seconds later and sent Fontbonne to the line. The made basket and free throw tied the game 144-144, sending the game into overtime. Sadly, Greenville could not pull off the victory before the buzzer went off. The final score was 164-154. On one good note, the game made ESPN headlines, due to the game becoming a new NCAA Division III scoring record with a combined 318 points. This just barely passed the previous record of 315 points that was set in 1994.
With the bad taste in their mouth from the Fontbonne game, Greenville traveled to MacMurray the following Saturday with a statement to prove. Even though the game started off slow with Greenville trailing 12-2 early in the game, the Panthers continued to pound the rock. They went into the half trailing 81-76. As always, Greenville found the juice they needed in the second half. They went on a run and racked up a total of 70 points in the second half, outscoring MacMurray by 11 points. This allowed them to gain the lead and win the game 146-140. The Panther’s were lead by Vari Bonney with 21 points. Seven other Panthers scored in double digits.
With this victory under Greenville’s belt, they still remain first in the SLIAC with the record of 10-4. With four games left, all the Panthers have to do is remain unbeaten for them to be able to win their 3rd consecutive conference title. With that, there is still hope of hosting the conference tournament later this month and a possibility to make the NCAA Division III Basketball tournament in March.
Video of a smooth step back jumper form Johari Dix against Fontbonne.