Caleb Brown's bank-shot 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer pushed Mammoth Spring past the Highland Rebels 53-52 in the opening round of the Lyon College Tournament in Batesville Dec. 5.
The Bears trailed 52-50 with 2.8 ticks left on the clock when Austin Hite, under the Highland basket, inbounded the ball to Brown at center court.
Brown took two dribbles and off one foot, drained the game-winning trey from outside the key.
That shot capped a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double by Brown.
Bear Head Coach Jeremy Cude called a timeout to work out the desperation shot.
When he saw what Highland planned to do, he called a second timeout to redo the plan.
"We really expected them to come out man on it. They didn't. They came out in an extended 1-3-1, so we changed what we had planned," explained Cude. "The first one would have had no chance and I thought the second one might give us a shot."
Caleb Brown was able to beat the clock, get the 3-pointer off, and win the game.
"Complete luck. I mean, that's supposed to occur, but when you make that shot, that's luck," said Cude. "They deserved to win the game. They outplayed us from tip to buzzer and we just got lucky."
Luck or odds?
"When you're up seven with less than a minute to go, odds are you're going to win the basketball game," said Rebel Head Coach Chad Arnhart. "And odds were against us."
With just over a minute to play, Highland was up 49-43 because of a Kenny Nicholson bucket. Landon Strobbe committed a foul on the Bears' next possession and was tagged with a technical for questioning the call.
Houston Cooper went to the free throw line first and hit one of two.
Brown toed the line next and sank both to cut the score to 49-46 and they had possession of the ball.
A foul by Wes Coffey gave Strobbe a chance to extend the Rebel lead, but he missed the front end of the one-and-one.
Bear sophomore Austin Hite's basket cut the deficit to one, but Josh Honey was sent to the line off the Mason Brown foul with 16 seconds remaining.
Only in the single bonus, Honey missed the first free throw attempt. Rebel Brad Harris snagged the rebound for the putback and drew the foul. Harris' charity shot gave the Rebels a 52-48 lead with 14 seconds to go.
Cooper made a shot to keep Mammoth Spring's chances alive. Chris Young fouled Nicholson and the Highland senior missed the free throw setting up the last second shot for the Bears.
"I don't think they ever stress out too much about stuff," said Cude. "As long as there is time on the clock these guys really think they have a chance to win the basketball game."
The Rebs found baskets early and often in the first quarter. Strobbe started the game with a trey followed by a Donnie French 3-pointer. Harris put in a couple of short jumpers, as did Honey, to give Highland a 14-8 advantage.
Going six-of-nine from the free throw line was the difference in the second period with Mammoth Spring tying the score at 25-all going into halftime. Coffey put in 11 second quarter points.
"We didn't play very well this week defensively. We've given up layups, uncontested 3s, offensive rebounds," said Cude. "We were just lackluster last night, lackluster today and extremely lucky both times."
Coffey had 15 for Mammoth Spring, while Cooper had 11 points, five assists and five steals for the Bears (11-1).