St. Louis, Mo. - Fontbonne men's basketball still has a chance for a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament bid after defeating the top squad MacMurray College Highlanders this afternoon 62-59. The Griffins need to secure a win against Blackburn College Tuesday in hopes of postseason action for the first time since 2009. Today Greenville lost to Webster, putting Greenville and Fontbonne's records at 10-7 each. The teams split regular season games this year against each other.
Fontbonne jumped out to a 5-0 lead in what became a fierce back and forth battle. Fontbonne led for a little over 13 minutes in the first half and both teams endured four minutes of tied basketball. The most the Griffins led was seven points and MacMurray just one. Heading into halftime, Fontbonne maintained a 35-28 advantage.
The Griffins got out of the gate on another hot streak, scoring the first seven points of the second half to lead 42-28. MacMurray wasn't about to buckle as the Highlanders scored 16 unanswered points including three treys to lead 44-42 with 11:31 to play. Buckets continued to exchange for the remainder of the game.
Tied 55-55, Fontbonne sophomore Orkan Bakis drained a three-pointer with just under two minutes to go. After a MacMurray timeout, the Highlanders missed on a try from long range themsevles and a foul would send the Griffins to the line. Senior Evan Johnson sank both free throws to give Fontbonne a 60-55 lead and another missed MacMurray three-pointer would result this time in a Griffin foul. Deavis Johnson connected on both attempts at the charity stripe to pull within three points with 1:11 left to play. Fontbonne managed to run as much time off the clock as they could before a missed shot gave MacMurray the ball with 35 seconds left. A MacMurray missed jumpshot with 14 seconds left and Bakis rebound ensured a Highlander foul would follow. Bakis made both free throws, with 10 seconds left, giving Fontbonne the five-point win.
SLIAC leading scorer Clayton Whitlock secured 22 points in the loss for MacMurray. Teammate Deavis Johnson was a rebounding machine with 16 rebounds and 10 points.
For the Griffins, Fontbonne shared the wealth, with four players recording five or more rebounds and Jared Greenlee leading the pack with 10 points.
Fontbonne needs a win at Blackburn College to potentially make the SLIAC Tournament. Tipoff is schedule for 8 p.m in Carlinville, Ill.