Photo by Jan Patrick
FORT SMITH — Khalen Robinson drove down the left side of the key for a layup with four seconds left in overtime to snap a 61-61 tie and Sam Chumley swiped a contested inbounds pass with :03.5 left as the Bryant Hornets rallied from an 12-point deficit in the first half to chase down the Jacksonville Titans, 63-61, in overtime on Thursday.
The game was the opener for both teams at the annual Coke Classic holiday tournament, hosted by Fort Smith Northside, at the Stubblefield Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.
Bryant advances to take on Charleston, which knocked off Fort Smith Southside, 65-55, in the final opener of the first day of the tourney. On the other side of the bracket, Little Rock Hall eased past El Dorado and Northside downed Pulaski Robinson, 68-52.
The Hornets and Charleston play at 5:50 p.m., on Friday.
Bryant trailed Jacksonville 23-12 at the end of the first quarter as the Titans hit 5 of 7 shots from 3-point range including a couple from NBA range. Sophomore Catrell Wallace scored off a feed from freshman Camren Hunter to open the scoring for the Hornets in the second stanza then Jacksonville’s Caleb Kendrick drilled a 3-point bomb to make it 26-14 with 6:58 left in the first half.
“That’s not how I like it but the kids are resilient,” said Hornets coach Mike Abrahamson. “We don’t want to make any excuses but we’re young and we just haven’t had the reps on some of the things — that takes time. That’s what I see a lot out there. And rebounding a lot of times is an issue. But they’re trying. They’re getting better at blocking out and things like that. Our kids are resilient and I’m proud of that.”
Kendrick’s 3 was the sixth of the game for the Titans but, from that point on, they managed just one more from long range the rest of the game.
“After the first quarter, we had to make some adjustments defensively and I thought our players did a great job of not letting it come so easy for Jacksonville, starting in the second quarter,” Abrahamson said. “And we started to chip away there. It seemed like we would catch up then do something stupid; then catch up then do something stupid. Eventually, we made enough plays to win in overtime.”
Bryant still trailed by 10 with 3:55 to go but finished the half on an 11-3 push that was only interrupted by that final 3 by Kendrick. Jacksonville was clinging to a 34-32 halftime advantage.
The surge began with a 3 from Sam Chumley. He followed with a stickback and, off a Jacksonville turnover, Hunter hit a layup to make it 31-28.
After a Titan timeout, Kendrick found the range and a Bryant turnover gave them a chance to bump the lead back up further only to have Chumley make a steal. Deron Canada drove the baseline for a layup as he was fouled and, though he missed the free throw, Hunter skied to retrieve the carom and was fouled. His free throws made it 34-32.
Canada led the Hornets with 19 points including all three of his 3-point tries. Chumley and Robinson added 13 each and Hunter 10. Robinson scored 7 of his points in the fourth quarter plus the game-winning basket in overtime.
Canada opened the second half the same way he started the game, with a 3, giving the Hornets their first lead since it was 3-2 in the first 30 seconds of the contest.
The game seesawed for a bit with Jacksonville gaining the upper hand. Bryant was getting to the line but struggled to convert, finishing 13 of 25. Jacksonville, however, playing against Bryant’s zone most of the night, was just 2 of 6 from the stripe. The Hornets forced 23 turnovers (while committing 14) and wound up finishing right with the Titans on the boards. Jacksonville ended up with a 34-32 edge.
Jacksonville’s Michael Terry gave his team a 47-42 advantage going into the fourth quarter with a three-point play with :00.7 showing on the clock. But the Hornets started the fourth quarter with a 10-0 blitz.
Hunter hit a free throw then Lambert stepped in to take a charge as Terry tried to attack the basket. A Titan turnover led to a basket by Robinson as he followed his blocked attempt. Off a Jacksonville miss, Robinson drove into the lane and hit an 8-footer. Terry missed a 3 and, though Jordan Maxwell rebounded, he stepped on the baseline giving the Hornets the ball with a 49-47 lead.
Canada followed his own miss and was fouled with 3:32 to go. He converted once and, off another Titan miscue, Robinson drove the lane for a basket to give Bryant a 52-47 advantage.
Christian White drove for a basket then the Hornets turned it over and, off the offensive boards, Ryan Maxwell scored to make it 52-51. The Titans took a timeout with 2:25 remaining.
When play resumed, they came out in a half-court trap and Abrahamson quickly called a timeout in response.
The Hornets went to their control game and worked the clock down to 1:12 before an offensive foul cost them. With :59 left, White scored off the offensive glass to give Jacksonville the lead. The Hornets came right back with Robinson getting fouled with :48.1 to go. He converted a free throw to tie it at 53.
The Titans used two timeouts to work down the clock. A last-second try by Terry was no good and the game went to an extra four minutes.
Terry missed a chance to untie it at the free throw line but missed the front end. For Bryant, Canada converted twice off a drive to the rack to put the Hornets up.
But back-to-back hoops by the Titans’ Braylon Hawkins gave them a 57-55 lead and, when the Hornets turned it over, Jacksonville had a chance to make it a two-possession lead. But Chumley absorbed a charge as White fouled out. With 1:39 remaining, Lambert scored off a nice give-and-go to tie it again.
Jordan Maxwell gave the Titans a lead with 1:14 left but Chumley drove for a basket then made a steal and scored as he was fouled. Though he missed the free throw, the Hornets were up 61-59.
Hawkins missed but Jordan Maxwell rebounded. He couldn’t connect and the Canada grabbed the carom only to have Hawkins steal the ball back and score to knot it at 61 with less than 15 seconds remaining.
The Hornets came right down the floor and got it to Robinson who drove for the winning basket.
Jacksonville got a timeout with :03.5 on the clock but the inbounds pass to midcourt was tipped and pulled down by Chumley to seal the victory.
“I challenged him to step up and be a senior leader,” Abrahamson said of his senior. “We just don’t have many. And he stepped up and took a charge and got a rebound or two late. I thought he was not playing well defensively there in the fourth quarter but he really stepped up and accepted the challenge.
“That’s the character of the kids we have in that locker room,” he added. “They respond. Sam, I’ve watched him grow up since sixth grade and he’s come a long way. He’s a hard worker and he’s going to get a chance to play somewhere in college. He deserves it. He’s a great kid and one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever been around.
Regarding Robinson’s clutch play, the coach said, “He is a really good player and he has a very bright future. He’s the total package as a person and a player. But, like everyone else, he has things to improve on. But we love him and I have no reservations about putting the ball in his hands at the end of the game. And, even though a couple of times, it wasn’t a great play, we put it right back into his hands because we believe in him.”
HORNETS 63, TITANS 61
Score by quarters
Jacksonville 23 11 13 6 8 — 61
BRYANT 12 20 10 11 10 — 63
Hawkins 7-11 0-0 16, Terry 1-7 2-4 4, R.Maxwell 5-7 0-0 11, J.Maxwell 6-10 0-2 12, Phillips 0-1 0-0 0, White 2-6 0-0 4, Taylor 1-1 0-0 2, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Kendrick 3-5 0-0 9, Martin 1-3 0-0 3, James 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-52 (50%) 2-6 (33%) 61.
Hunter 3-8 3-4 10, Robinson 5-14 2-4 13, Chumley 5-11 2-7 13, Lambert 1-4 0-1 2, Canada 5-10 6-9 19, Wallace 3-3 0-0 6. Totals 22-50 (44%) 13-25 (52%) 63.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 6-17 (Canada 3-3, Robinson 1-6, Chumley 1-4, Hunter 1-3, Lambert 0-1), Jacksonville 7-14 (Kendrick 3-4, Hawkins 2-4, R.Maxwell 1-1, Martin 1-1, Terry 0-4). Turnovers: Bryant 14, Jacksonville 23. Rebounds: Bryant 15-17 32 (Chumley 6-2 8, Canada 2-5 7, Hunter 3-3 6, Lambert 1-4 5, Wallace 2-1 3, Robinson 1-0 1, team 0-2 2), Jacksonville 14-20 34 (R.Maxwell 4-2 6, Hawkins 1-4 5, J.Maxwell 1-4 5, White 3-1 4, Terry 0-3 3, Phillips 1-0 1, Smith 0-1 1, Kendrick 0-1 1, Martin 0-1 1, team 4-3 7). Team fouls: Bryant 10, Jacksonville 21. Fouled out: Jacksonville, White.