FT. BRANCH, Ind. — Levi Laws drove the length of the court for the game-winning layup as Mt. Carmel defeated Gibson Southern, 69-68, in overtime Friday on the final night of pool play in the Toyota Teamwork Classic.
The win vaulted the Golden Aces into the third-place game Saturday against Princeton, which they lost to the Tigers, 65-58, to finish fourth in the tourney.
“We made enough plays to get the victory,” said Mt. Carmel coach Tyler Buss. “After a couple of years of under-500 (won-loss records) then right around 500 last year, we’ll take wins any way they come.”
Shane Murphy had just given Gibson Southern a 68-67 lead with a 3-point field goal with 20 seconds left in the overtime when Laws took the inbounds pass and raced downcourt.
“We didn’t waste a timeout. We know when teams are scrambling, Levi is pretty good at getting to the basket,” Buss said. “He did a good job of taking it all the way to the rack and finishing at the rim.”
Gibson Southern (1-4) got a shot off before the horn, but it missed its mark.
The Titans reached the OT on the strength of Mason Lankford’s runner that tied the game at 60-all with 0.9 seconds remaining.
Mt. Carmel could not get a shot off before the horn, forcing the extra stanza, which went almost two minutes without a shot being taken by either team.
Gibson Southern, after trailing early, 11-2, recovered in time to carry a 36-32 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Aces opened the third quarter with a 14-5 spurt that put then back in the lead, 46-41. It was a lead they never relinquished until overtime.
C.J. Diel paced Mt. Carmel with 21 points. Laws added 20 and Reece Metcalf 16. Gibson Southern got 15 points from Lankford, 13 from Brandon Staback and 10 from Murphy.
For Mt. Carmel (8-5 overall, but 2-4 against Indiana opposition), the loss to Princeton was the second in 11 days, after the Tigers prevailed in a Dec. 7 Big 8 Conference game, 66-51.
The Aces trailed, 31-23 at halftime, but rallied in the second half, eventually tying things at 44-all. But, Princeton (6-2) got two quick 3-point field goals from Colton Wilder and a basket by Kinzer Havill for an eight-point run which the Aces never recovered from.
“It was tough,” said Buss of the loss. “I thought our guys did a good job of battling in the second half. But, give Princeton credit. That’s two times in a row we haven’t been able to solve them offensively.”
Metcalf had 18 points for the Aces, with Laws adding 17. Wilder finished game-high with 23 points, as 6-foot-5 center Kinzer Havill scored 17 for Princeton.