The Pacific Union College men's Pioneer basketball team faced top ranked Bethany College at their last home game on Wednesday night, Feb. 19. The Pioneers played their best game of the season, defeating the Bethany Bruins in overtime 87-83.
Bethany (8-2) came into the game expecting an easy victory against the Pioneers (2-8). However, the Pioneers won the tip-off and took control of the game from the start, with a three-pointer by guard Mario Perez.
PUC guard Brady Bock hit another three-pointer to give the Pioneers a 10-4 lead with 16:11 left in the half. Bock's three-pointer started PUC on a 10-0 run that was capped by a dunk by forward Brett Graves.
Bethany head coach and former Los Angeles Lakers player, John Block, called a time-out to regroup his team. When play resumed, Bethany started a half-court press against the Pioneers, and things no longer looked so bleak for Bethany. However, the Pioneers retain their lead throughout the entire first half, 37-31.
In the second half, Bethany hit a three-pointer to make the score 40-43, then scored on a steal to pull within one.
With 15:00 left in the game, Bethany took the lead for the first time in the game, 44-43.
With 5:00 left in the game, forward Rob Adams came off the bench and scored six points in less than five seconds. On a one-on-one drive, Adams was flagrantly fouled and still made the shot. Adams sunk both free throws and PUC got the ball on the sideline. On the inbound pass, Adams scored again, giving PUC a 65-64 lead.
Perez drove the lane with 19 seconds left, but missed the lay-up. Adams was able to get the tip-in and tie the score 67-67.
With just seconds remaining, Bethany took a last minute desperation shot. Patterson blocked the three-point attempt at the buzzer, and the game went into overtime.
Patterson came back with a powerful slam dunk that bent the rim down, causing the referee to call a time-out to put the rim back in place.
With 1:20 left in overtime, Perez hit a three-pointer to give the Pioneers the lead for good, 78-74.
Thanks to clutch free throws by both Perez and Patterson, the Pioneers were able to walk away with their best win of the season against the number one team in the California Pacific Conference, 87-83.
"I think we sent a message to the rest of the league," said Pioneer head coach Mike Hellie.
Bryan Patterson led all scorers with 24 points and eight rebounds. Perez chipped in 15 points and two clutch three-pointers.