In a game that each team could have won twice, it was fitting that Rick Schneider of St. Thomas College (Minn.) should make the game-winning shot with one second to play in the fourth overtime.
Schneider's basket--his first of the game--gave the Tommies a 100-98 victory in the nonconference season opener Saturday night at Northridge.
Trailing, 96-94, with two minutes to play in the fourth overtime, St. Thomas scored six of the next eight points.
Tom Batta, who scored 26 points, hit two jump shots in a row to give the Tommies a 98-96 lead with 41 seconds left, but Sandy Brown of Northridge countered with two free throws with 19 seconds left to tie the score.
The stage was set for Schneider, who hit a scoop shot just before the buzzer sounded. The play was not called for Schneider but the Matador defense forced him to drive the lane and throw up the shot.
Northridge apparently had won the game in the third overtime when Bill Mazurie hit two free throws with 14 seconds left to give the Matadors a 92-89 lead.
After a timeout, however, St. Thomas (2-1) came down the floor and Tim Nelson hit a three-point shot to send the game into the fourth extra period.
Nelson, a senior guard, made seven three-point shots and scored a game-high 34 points.
Northridge also appeared to have the game in hand during the second overtime. Eugene Humphrey's two free throws gave the Matadors an 85-79 lead with 1:47 to play. Consecutive three-point baskets by Batta, however, the second coming with 23 seconds left, tied the score, 85-85.
Batta also had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but his three-point attempt was blocked by Kendell McDaniels.
Bill Schaffer's two free throws with five seconds left in the first overtime gave St. Thomas a 77-74 lead. Jemarl Baker's three-point shot at the buzzer tied the score, however.
Humphrey made two free throws with 35 seconds to play in regulation to tie the score, 65-65, and Nelson's shot at the buzzer failed to drop.
The Matadors rallied from a four-point deficit with 1:14 left in regulation to send the game into overtime. Humphrey sank a jump shot with 49 seconds left to pull the Matadors to within two then followed with the free throws 14 seconds later.
Northridge trailed, 62-56, with 2:33 to play in regulation after Batta made a jump shot.
The Matadors did not fold, however. Derrick Gathers sank a three-point shot to cut the deficit to three and Baker made two free throws to trim the Tommies' lead to one with 1:46 to play.
Nelson countered with a three-point shot to give St. Thomas a 65-61 lead with 1:14 to play.
Northridge trailed, 56-52, with 5:15 to play in the second half but Shanan Rosenberg made two free throws and Gathers followed with a steal and slam dunk to tie the score.
St. Thomas scored the next six points to take a 62-56 lead with 2:33 to play.
Gathers, the Matador off-guard, had a team-high 26 points. Gathers, who also had eight rebounds, fouled out with 1:56 gone in the first overtime, however.
Gathers had 13 points in the first half as Northridge trailed, 35-32, at intermission.
Although Northridge appeared to have an edge in quickness, the Tommies made up for it with crisp passing and fine three-point shooting.
St. Thomas hit seven of 14 three-point shots in the first half and made 14 of 27 in the game. Northridge made six of 16 three-point shots, with Gathers making five of 10.
Humphrey had 18 points for Northridge and McDaniels, a sophomore forward, added 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Matadors outrebounded St. Thomas, 45-39.
St. Thomas is a Division III school in St. Paul and is a member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Tommies were 19-8 last season and tied for the conference championship.