Bears Second Half Rally Overtakes Western Illinois, 63-59
Dec. 29, 2006
Corpus Christi, Texas - Junior guard Damon Huffman scored 16 of his game high 21 points in the second half to rally Brown to a 63-59 victory over Western Illinois to reach the championship game of the Flint Hills Resources Classic.
Head coach Craig Robinson's Brown team (5-7 overall) posted its fifth win of the season, eclipsing the number of non-league wins by the Bears a year ago. Western Illinois drops to 4-8 overall.
Huffman scored the game's last six points from the free throw line to hold off a late Western Illinois rally. Brown had led by as many as 10 points in the second half, 59-49, on a Huffman three point basket with 51 seconds left to play. But the Leathernecks rallied to cut the Bears' lead to just two points, 61-59, on a trey by junior Chris Gonzales with 7.8 seconds remaining in the game.
Huffman grabbed the inbounds pass and was fouled with 6 ticks left on the clock and Brown clinging to a two-point advantage. He stepped to the free throw line and iced the game with two free throws, giving Brown the final margin of victory.
Brown rallied from a 30-23 halftime deficit to take the lead for good, 35-34, on a dunk by senior Nate Eads with 15:20 left in the game. The Bears kept up the pressure on Western Illinois, extending their lead to nine points, 50-41, on a trey by sophomore Scott Friske with 5:48 left to play.
In a game of spurts, Brown jumped out to a 13-2 lead to open the game before Western Illinois answered with a 11-0 run to tie the game, 13-13. Both teams settled down with the Leathernecks having the better of play in the half, leading by as many as eight points, 30-22,on a basket by Jerryck Owens-Murray, before settling on a 30-23 lead at the half.
Huffman's 21 points came on 5 of 9 shooting from the field and 8 of 9 shooting from the free throw line. Junior Mark McAndrew scored 10 of his 16 points in the first half, while Friske scored all of his nine points in the second half. Eads also finished with nine points, seven of those in the second half.
Western Illinois was led by Xavier Price with 14 points and Gonzales with 11 points.
The Bears will play host Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Saturday in the championship game of the Flint Hills Resources Classic beginning at 7:30 p.m. (CST).