Dec. 20, 2007
Box Score |
HONOLULU, Hawaii-Senior forward Leon Williams (Baltimore, Md.) took a fullcourt pass from senior guard Bubba Walther (Cincinnati, Ohio) and converted the game-winning layup with 0.2 seconds left to give the Ohio men's basketball squad a 71-69 win over St. John's late Wednesday evening at the 44th annual Rainbow Classic in Honolulu. The duo combined to shoot 12-21 from the field (.571) and 12-16 from the free throw line (.750).
Ohio will face the winner of the Louisiana-Lafayette and Hawaii Friday night/Saturday morning at 12:30 a.m. Eastern (7:30 p.m. Hawaii).
The Bobcats improved to 7-3 overall with the win, while the Red Storm dropped to 4-3.
Walther's heady pass came an instant after St. John's Eugene Lawrence tied the game at 69 on a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1.5 seconds remaining. Williams then corralled the long bomb just inside the free throw line at the other end and converted the lefthanded layup to give Ohio the win.
Williams finished with his 31st career double-double as he posted a game-high 24 points and 10 rebounds. Eight of those caroms came on the offensive end. As a team, Ohio held a 33-26 edge on the glass, including 13 offensive boards.
The Bobcats held a definitive edge on the charity stripe as they made 15 more free throws than their competitors (25-10) and converted a higher percentage as well (73.5-62.5).
Walther finished with three 3-pointers and 15 points, while junior forward Jerome Tillman (Beavercreek, Ohio) had 11 points and two steals. The Bobcats also got a lift from their bench as junior guard Bert Whittington IV (Temecula, Ca.) and sophomore center Kenneth van Kempen (Weert, Netherlands) accounted for 14 points.
St. John's was led by D.J. Kennedy's 17 points, while Lawrence had 16 and Larry Wright posted 12. Justin Burrell was the Red Storm's leading rebounder with seven caroms.
The two teams struggled to find their range in the first half, shooting a combined 3-21 (.143) from 3-point land.
A buzzer-beater didn't figure to be needed deep in the second half as the Bobcats built their largest lead (54-45) with 6:59 remaining on a layup by Williams. However, the Red Storm gradually chipped away down the stretch and had a chance to take the lead when Lawrence stepped to the line for a 1-and-1 with 11 seconds to play and Ohio up by one. His free throw would not connect, though, and junior forward Justin Orr (Cincinnati, Ohio) snared the rebound and converted the ensuing free throws to set the stage for the wild finish.