PULASKI, Tenn. - John Hoskins scored 22 points, wrangled down 21 rebounds and notched five blocks as the Martin Methodist Men's Basketball team defeated No. 14 William Carey (Miss.) 90-84 in overtime on Homecoming Weekend 2016 in the Curry Christian Life Center Saturday afternoon.
The contest, which was also the NAIA Network Division I Men's Basketball Game of the Week, presented by Stretch Internet - was an instant classic as the RedHawks (17-11, 10-7 SSAC) and Crusaders (18-10, 12-4) battled in front of one of the largest crowds in the CLC this season.
Ahead 35-28 at halftime, the RedHawks saw their lead balloon to double-digits when they went up 13 with just 4:29 left in the ballgame.
But the Crusaders used their trademark press defense to force several RedHawk miscues and draw within striking distance.
The RedHawks had a chance to close the game out in regulation, but Crusader guard Jared Tillman swished home a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left in regulation to see the squads head to overtime tied at 75-75.
In the extra frame, the RedHawks won the tip and took advantage as they went ahead, 78-75 less than a minute into the overtime period. And while the Crusaders brought the deficit down to just one on a pair of occasions, the RedHawks never buckled as they scored 13 of their 15 points in the extra frame at the free throw line to ice the contest.
Hoskins, who was honored before the game as one of four RedHawk seniors that played their final home game, was lights out for the RedHawks. The big man connected on 7-of-12 shots from the floor and added an identical 7-of-12 line at the free throw line. Hoskins even sank 1-of-2 shots from long range as he finished with a team-high 22 points.
The 21 rebounds that Hoskins tracked down, however, were the difference in the ballgame as the RedHawks held a narrow 53-50 margin on the glass. The 21 rebounds marked the second-most in the program's modern era and the most since Justin Wilson snagged 22 boards on Nov. 22, 2005.
The five blocks were icing on the cake for Hoskins, who set career highs in all three categories.
"I do not know if I can explain how well John played tonight," RedHawks head coach Scott Combs said. "He has continued to get better each and every game. He came in around Christmas and has really started to step his game up each time out. He was phenomenal tonight."
Junior guard Caleb Chowbay scored 21 points to lead the RedHawk backcourt. Twin brothers Toderick and Broderick Davis scored 12 and 11 each. Darius Forrest scored 15 to flank Hoskins in the frontcourt.
Tillman led the Crusaders with a game-high 23 points and connected on 5-of-8 shots from beyond the arc.
The win marked a measure of revenge for the RedHawks, who fell to the Crusaders, 96-78, when the teams met in Hattiesburg, Mississippi earlier this month. Prior to a setback at Bethel (Tenn.) on Thursday, the Crusaders entered the week on a 19-game win streak and had won 12 straight in league play.
Martin Methodist closes its 2016 regular-season schedule next Saturday, Feb. 27, at Bethel. The RedHawks hung on for a 80-79 victory between the bitter rivals when the teams met in Pulaski on Jan. 25.
"This was a massive win for us as we get ready to head into the postseason," Combs said. "The guys played very well at times tonight. The focus in the first half was laser sharp and we needed to set the tone early against a team as talented as (William Carey). We will savor this one for a day, but we have an awfully tough one next week to close our regular season."
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