Men's Basketball - Sat, Jan. 17, 2009
ATHERTON, Calif. Ė Just when it appeared that the slim lead Menlo College had held for nearly the entire game was going to hold up the Oaks didnít lead anymore.
A pair of turnovers in the last minute of regulation gifted Simpson two baskets that sent the game to an overtime the Red Hawks controlled from the start but nearly blew themselves before holding on to send Menlo to a crushing 61-59 California Pacific Conference menís basketball defeat on Saturday night inside Haynes-Prim Pavilion.
The Oaks end a disappointingly winless week 3-4 in the Cal Pac and 5-11 overall heading into a Thursday matchup with Dominican (5-2, 8-9). Simpson improves to 2-5 in conference and 3-13 overall.
Menlo trailed just once Ė for all of 13 seconds Ė and held a 50-46 advantage in the final minute of regulation when Julian Harris was stripped from behind after grabbing a defensive rebound. Simpsonís Tristan Newsome turned his steal into a layup with 29 seconds to play. Even with the Red Hawks employing a full-court press, the Oaks had time on their side before Newsome came up with another steal seconds later and fed Justin Sparks for another easy score to tie the game with 21 seconds to play. Menlo held for the last shot, but Harrisí attempt was off and the game went to overtime.
In the extra period, Simpson led by only one point before Aundre Sheard scored on back-to-back possessions to give the red Hawks a comfortable bulge heading into the final minute. Sparks split a pair of free throws to increase Simpsonís lead to six points with 25 seconds to play.
With the game seemingly over, Menlo found a final burst of energy and nearly pulled off a surprise of its own. Chris Cobb drove for a score with 19 seconds to play. Harris then came up with a quick steal on the Red Hawks inbounds pass, fed Brandon Cochran at the top of the arch, and the 6-foot-7 senior nailed a 3-pointer to pull the Oaks within a point. Simpson threw the ensuing inbounds pass out of bounds and Menlo had possession with eight seconds to play.
Despite being given a hard-earned gift of its own, the Oaks couldnít make it pay off as Harris missed a pull-up jumper in the key, Simpsonís Andrew Schrittner made a free throw, and Cochranís length-of-the-court heave at the buzzer was way off.
Menlo enjoyed a quick start, taking leads of 13-4 and 19-10 Ė its biggest of the night Ė before the Red Hawks settled into the game. The Oaks led 30-27 at the half and fell behind briefly when Simpson scored the first five points of the restart. Andrew Young tied the game with an inside score and Ryan Dung reestablished Menloís advantage with a 3-pointer. The Oaks led by no more than six points for the next 15 minutes, 16 seconds until Simpsonís last-minute fight back.
Harris scored 12 to lead Menlo while Cobb added 10. Cochran came through with seven points and a game-high 13 rebounds while Young finished with six and eight. Ari Goldman chipped in seven points and five rebounds.
Sparks scored 17 for Simpson with Aundre Sheard recording a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Josh Sidener adding 10 points.