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Payne's Buzzer-beater Gives DePauw NCAC Win and Tie for Third in Conference Standings

Payne's Buzzer-beater Gives DePauw NCAC Win and Tie for Third in Conference Standings

January 23, 2013


BY3R5275Greencastle, Ind. - Alex Payne took Pat Haggin's inbounds pass with 4.8 seconds left in the first overtime, drove the length of the court and dropped a running jumper from the right side of the lane off the glass and through the cylinder as the clock reached zeroes and gave DePauw a 68-66 North Coast Athletic Conference win over visiting Wittenberg at the Neal Fieldhouse. (game-winning shot pictured left/photo: Linda Striggo)

The victory lifted the host Tigers to their eighth win in the last 10 games as they improved to 12-6 overall and 5-4 in NCAC play. Wittenberg now stands with the same 12-6 and 5-4 records as the squads are now tied for third in the NCAC standings.

The drama started in the closing seconds of regulation as Wittenberg took a 55-53 lead with 16 seconds left when Scott Masin scored on a layin off of a nice pass from Steven Newell. Following a Wittenberg timeout, Payne drove the lane but was stuffed by Wittenberg's Sam Collins. Payne got the rebound and flipped the ball to Barry Flynn who was fouled with one second left.

BY3R5307Flynn hit the first charity toss before Wittenberg called timeout. The DePauw senior calmly nailed the second and knotted the score at 55-55. Wittenberg's Zack Leahy got off a deep three-pointer, but it didn't reach the rim.

In the extra session, DePauw led by as many as five at 66-61 after Michael Wilkison's three-point play with 1:07 left. Masin rebounded his own miss with 49 seconds left and cut the margin to three.

On its next trip down the floor, DePauw was able to run the shot clock down before Mark Johnson was fouled with 11.9 seconds left after rebounding Wilkison's miss. Johnson, however, couldn't convert on either free throw.

Alex Fultz grabbed the rebound off the second miss, got the ball to Newell who dribbled across the time line. Newell then found Fultz on the left wing and he quickly buried the game-tying three.

DePauw immediately called time to set up the game-winning play.

"Alex is probably our fastest guy in the open court and we just tried to get everybody down the floor and we were hoping he could make a play," DePauw head coach Bill Fenlon said.

"He has a knack for making those kinds of runners and floaters. Believe it or not he's kind of good at those shots."

DePauw was hot early in jumping out to a 22-13 lead, but the guests eventually knotted the score at 28-28. The host Tigers took a 36-33 lead into the intermission.

Adam Botts nailed a three-pointer on DePauw's second possession of the second half to make it a six-point game, but the Tigers wouldn't score another field goal for a 10-minute span.

DePauw took a 52-48 advantage on Haggin's jumper with 4:17 left, but Wittenberg took the lead on Leahy's three and Masin's baseline drive with 1:49 remaining. Payne hit one of two free throws which set up Masin's go-ahead bucket.

Flynn led DePauw with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Wilkison chipped in 13 and Haggin 12. Leahy led all scorers with 24 and totaled three steals with Masin adding 18 and a game-high nine rebounds.

DePauw shot 51 percent for the game after shooting 60 percent in the first half, while Wittenberg made just 37 percent of its field goal tries.

In all, the game featured 13 ties and seven lead changes.

DePauw hosts Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday at 3 p.m. with Wittenberg hosting Oberlin in the same day.

For more information on the DePauw men’s basketball program, follow DePauw on Twitter (@DePauwAthletics / @DePauw_MBB) or like them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/DePauwAthletics).