Southern California College blew several opportunities to win its NAIA District 8 semifinal basketball game against Point Loma Nazarene Saturday night at Chapmen college, but the Vanguards still had a hard time accepting the blame for a 79-78 overtime loss.
After Point Loma forward Clayton Williams missed a desperation three-point shot with four seconds left in overtime, the Crusaders missed two tip-ins before SCC center Rob Lucas was called for a foul against Point Loma's Dawyne Burton. Burton was the third Crusader to touch the ball after Williams' miss.
With about 2,000 spectators screaming, Burton hit the front end of a one-and-one to give Point Loma (22-9) the victory. The Crusaders will meet Biola in the District 3 final Tuesday night at Chapman. Biola defeated Westmont, 75-59, in the other semifinal game Saturday night.
Several SCC players seemed stunned by the call, claiming that time had expired before the foul. Lucas looked to the bench in disbelief. But Vangard Coach Bill Reynolds later said the game shouldn't have been decided by the final call, especially since the Vanguards made only 13 of 25 free throws.
"We told our kids we don't want to go out of here saying that's what beat us," Reynolds said. "We led the district in free-throw shooting. . . .Maybe it was fatigue. The kids have been in stressful situations before and they've responded. Tonight they responded, but they didn't make the free throws."
Point Loma Coach Ben Foster said he couldn't tell if time had expired when Burton was fouled. "I wasn't watching the game clock," he said. "I'm not sure anyone in the gymnasium was. It's a call we were very fortunate to get. . . . I thought there was contact. I really did."
Burton said he was more certain about the call.
"Dave Davis missed a (tip-in) shot. I was just there trying to put it in and luckily they called the foul," he said, "I looked up and saw there was no time left on the clock, but I knew I got fouled before time ran out."
The Vanguards (22-8) were fortunate the game even went into overtime. They trailed most of the second half, but forward Jon Haar, who had previously made only 4 of 13 shots, hit a three-pointer whit 20 seconds left to tie the game at 72. Crusader guard Greg Lanthier missed a 17-foot jumper at the buzzer, and the game went into overtime.
SCC took a quick lead in overtime on Lucas' hook shot, but the Vanguards turned the ball over their next two possessions.
Point Loma's Williams hit a jump shot to tie the game at 78 with 1:10 left in overtime. Vanguard forward Mike Lightfoot missed the front end of a one-and-one, and the Crusaders took possession to set the stage for the finish.