Last-second 3-pointer lifts Saints over Patriots

Last-second 3-pointer lifts Saints over Patriots

OCALA--The College of Central Florida men's basketball team couldn't pull one out late against rival Santa Fe College.

The Patriots used an 8-0 run to wipe out a six-point deficit with just under two minutes left, but LaBrian Shiflet buried a 3-pointer with 7.2 seconds remaining, as Santa Fe knocked off CF 79-78 in a Mid-Florida Conference matchup.

CF lost to the Saints for just the third time in the last 24 meetings overall and for just the second time in 13 trips in Ocala.

Santa Fe won in Ocala for the first time in two years and snapped a five-game losing streak to CF.

A year ago, the Patriots went 4-0 against the Saints for the first time in school history.

This time around, CF looked to be on its way to a fantastic finish.

Santa Fe (9-11, 2-1) missed a pair of one-and-one opportunities over the final two minutes and the second miss left it wide open for the Patriots.

With 1:02 left, Malik Dunbar buried a 3-pointer to pull CF to within three.

From there, the Patriots forced a turnover on the ensuing possession by SFC and Eddy Polanco converted a layup at the 44.2 second mark to put CF within 76-75.

Santa Fe then turned the ball over again, as Brandon Tabb slapped the ball off a SFC player and out-of-bounds.

The Patriots went to K.J. Maura, who had missed his nine shots and five attempts from beyond the arc.

Maura stepped up and buried the a 3-pointer and CF led 78-76 with 25 seconds left.

The Saints, though, didn't quit.

SFC found Shiflet, who scored 13 of his 24 points in the second half, for the go-ahead 3-pointer.

The Patriots still had a chance for the win and Maura fired up a 3-pointer with two Saints coming at him.

The shot bounced off the rim and a pair of CF players battled for the ball under the basket with a Saint, but the Patriots were unable to get a shot off, as time expired.

CF (17-6, 1-2) led by 12 in the first half, but was hit with a 22-5 run before halftime and went down 42-37 at halftime.

The back-and-forth contest featured nine lead changes and six ties, with the most important change coming thanks to Shiflet, whose scoring helped the Saints produce a 39-14 edge in bench scoring.

Polanco (24 points, five rebounds, four assists), Dunbar (14 points), Maura (11 assists) and Devaughn Jenkins (13 points) led the way for CF.

The Patriots allowed the Saints to make 54.4 percent of their shots and 42. 9 percent from 3-point range (9-of-21 shooting). 

CF turned the ball over just eight times and forced 19 by the Saints. The Patriots scored 18 points off SFC turnovers and also ended with a 16-12 edge in second-chance points.

CF made just 38.7 percent from the floor, which included a 10-of-31 effort from 3-point range.

Leo Edwards (14 points, 10 rebounds), Alex Brown (11 points) and Benjy Dumornay (10 points) backed Shiflet in the win for Santa Fe.

The loss was the first in 13 home games for CF this season.

The Patriots return to action with a road trip to face FSC-Jacksonville on Saturday.