Again it was not pretty but the Tigers came away with a victory over NCCAA II #2 Valley Forge Christian College, 77-75. They had to overcome a halftime deficit of eight points, sloppy offensive play, and poor free throw shooting. The deficit grew to as much as 19 in the second half as the Valley Forge defense and the Tigers stagnant offense put GBC in a deep hole that appeared to have long odds to overcome. But the Tigers caught fire in the last 10 minutes sparked by some tough man to man defense and the shooting of senior guard John Oostema. The Patriots broke a 72-72 tie when senior Mike Stum completed a three point play with 24 seconds left and put Valley Forge up 75-72. But Oostema and the Tigers were not through. The senior guard drained another three pointer from 24 feet with two Patriots in his face and the game was tied again at 75. Junior Ryan Dame then came up with a big block on Stum’s layup and the outlet pass went to junior Randy Jefferson who was fouled with 1.7 seconds on the clock. Jefferson calmly sank both free throws. A desperation half court shot at the buzzer by Donnell Davis was off the mark and the Tigers 62 consecutive win streak in the NCCAA II remained intact, barely.
“You have to give John Mack and Valley Forge a lot of credit for the way they played,” said Coach Gary Bailey. ” They had a good game plan and they followed it. They played hard. That’s the kind of game no team should have to lose. While I wasn’t pleased with the way we played for the first 30 minutes I was proud of the heart our guys showed in coming back from that hole we dug for ourselves. We have to learn to play for 40 minutes.”
Oostema led all scorers with 17 points including 4 for 6 shooting from the three point arc. Ryan Krombeen with 15, Ryan Dame with 14, and Zach Schutte with 10 were the other Tigers in double figures. Ryan Dame led both teams with 10 rebounds.
The game was as close statistically as the final score would indicate. The Tigers held slight edges in rebounding, field goal percentage, and free throw percentage.
GBC will play next on Friday, November 18 at Calvin College’s Tip-Off Tourney.