By Dan Fama and Jack Creegan
LARGO, MD—The Maryland Juco Men's Basketball Tournament kicked off today with a double-overtime thriller, as the No. 6 seeded Cecil Seahawks took down the No. 3 Frederick Cougars 78-76 at Prince George's Community College's Novak Field House.
How it Happened
A highly competitive first half that featured 10 lead changes and four ties, concluded with the Cougars and Seahawks tied at 30. The Cougars struggled from the field, shooting just 28% (8-28), kept pace with the Seahawks by capitalizing at the free-throw line, converting 8-of-12 attempts.
The Cougars also benefited from three timely three-pointers by Marlon White Jr, who scored a team-high nine points in the half. The Seahawks had a hot-handed shooter of their own, as Greg Alexander went 3-for-3 from deep in an effort that saw him lead all scorers at halftime with 11 points.
The Cougars got off to a strong start in the second half, opening on a 15-5 run to take the lead 45-35. The Seahawks answered with a run of their own behind a dominant display on the offensive boards, scoring 11 straight points to take the lead by one with 9:35 left in the game.
From that point on the two teams traded blows, with neither team being able to take control of the game.
Cecil went to the line with 33 seconds left and a chance to take the lead, but failed to convert either of their free throws. Frederick had a chance with the final possession of regulation, but were unable to score, sending the game into overtime.
The same intensity carried over into the overtime period, as the Cougars and Seahawks traded clutch shot after clutch shot.
Cecil fell behind by five points twice in overtime. The second time, Alexander hit a three that started a 5-0 run for the Seahawks to end the extra frame tied. The Cougars Ben Meredith scored seven of his team's 10 points.
Frederick took an early five point lead – its third in extra time – but as was the case for the entire game, Cecil refused to go down without a fight.
The Seahawks cut the lead to one with only a minute remaining and then Alexander hit a massive three with just 18 seconds left that put Cecil ahead by two.
Alexander's shot ended up being the game winner, as the resilient Seahawks were able to pull out a gutsy victory over a tough Cougars squad.
Quotes and Notes
"I told our guy, 'We're going to have to fight all day long' and that's what I expected," said Seahawks head coach Ed Durham. "Was there a turning point? I wouldn't say there was a turning point. It was battle."
The Seahawks will move on to face the winner of the Allegany Trojans and Southern Maryland Hawks, in a semifinal game tomorrow at 4 p.m.