DETROIT, Mich. — Marygrove College men’s basketball picked up their first Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference win with a thrilling 67-65 come-from-behind victory over neighboring foe, Lawrence Tech (4-17; 2-11 WHAC), Wednesday (Jan. 22) inside Detroit’s Northwest Activities Center (NWAC). The win is the first varsity men’s basketball victory in the NWAC and the third in four all-time meetings over Tom Kempf’s Blue Devils.
With the win, first year Craig Covington picked up his first conference victory as a collegiate head coach.
To open the game, the visiting Blue Devils threw out a balanced attack at the Mustangs (2-19; 1-12 WHAC) and went up by nine, 22-13, with 10:54 remaining in the first half behind a Jake Mullin jumper. The Mustangs would climb back to within four, 22-18, behind a 5-0 run sparked by junior guard Darryll Dixon’s (Flint, Mich./Hamady) fast break dunk. Down four, senior guard DeVonte Pryor (Pontiac, Mich./West Texas A&M) checked in as a member of the Green & Gold for the first time after a lengthy time away from the court due to a career-threatening knee injury.
Pryor’s return ignited the crowd helping the Mustangs inch to within a point (30-29) with just under 90 seconds to play in the opening half. A late Mullin three-pointer halted the Mustang surge and allowed the Blue Devils to take a slim 33-29 lead into the halftime break.
After the 15-minute intermission, the Blue Devils took advantage of a cold-shooting Mustang team to take their largest lead of the game, 45-34, with 15:37 remaining in the contest. Down 11, senior leader DeVonte Pryor checked in and made a difference once again as he capped off a 14-4 surge with a put-back layup in the paint. The 14-4 run over eight-plus minutes of action was followed by a steal from JuJuan Armstrong (Detroit, Mich./UM-Dearborn) and a subsequent three-pointer by freshman forward Elijah Ingram (Detroit, Mich./Consortium) to put the Mustangs ahead for the first time in the latter half, 51-49.
Remaining steady for most the contest, the Blue Devils answered back to take a commanding 65-58 lead with 40 seconds to play off a pair of Mullin charity stripe makes. Mullin’sÂ free throws would be the final time Lawrence Tech attempted a shot of any kind as the Mustangs refused to quit in Wednesday’s WHAC battle.
With 32 seconds remaining, Armstrong started one of the most memorable comebacks in Marygrove history when he connected on a layup after drawing a Lawrence Tech foul. Amrstrong missed his free throw attempt, but Ingram was there to clean it up for his one of his two rebounds on the night. The freshman forward was taken down from behind on the rebound leading to a flagrant foul to be called on the Blue Devils. Ingram connected on both free throw tries to bring the Mustangs to within three with 31 seconds remaining.
Playing beyond his freshman status, Ingram rose up to hit a game-tying three with 22 seconds left on the clock. The Blue Devils did not call a timeout after the game-tying triple and fell victim to sound situational defense as Pryor came up with a steal to help the Mustangs regain possession.
In a fitting ending to his first game back in years, Pryor would later connect on the game-winning layup with just under five seconds remaining to lift the Mustangs to their first conference victory of the 2013-14 campaign.
The difference in the game was the Mustangs’ depth off the bench as the Green & Gold’s reserves outscored the Blue Devils’ bench, 24-6.
The Mustangs were led by Dixon with 17 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Pryor would follow with 14 points (6-of-7 FG), four steals, and a pair of rebounds. Sophomore guard Diante Taylor (Battle Creek, Mich./Central) inched closer to the Mustangs’ consecutive double-digit scoring games streak with 11 points to go along with 10 rebounds. By dropping in 11 points, Taylor has reached double digits in 34 straight games dating back to Jan. 10, 2013. The Marygrove record is 36 games of 10-or-more points by former Mustang standout, Dennis Foster.
Lawrence Tech was led by Mullin and Brad Watterworth with 17 each.
The Mustangs will look to continue their newfound momentum when they hit the road to face a talented Madonna Crusaders squad Saturday (Jan. 25) at 3 p.m. Live coverage of the game is available through Madonna at madonnacrusaders.com.Â
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Category: Men's Basketball