Bluefield outlasts OVU in OT

VIENNA -Trailing by 12 points at halftime, Bluefield State College shots lights out in the first 9 1/2 minutes of the second half and played the Ohio Valley University men’s basketball team on even terms until it pulled away in overtime for a 107-102 victory Tuesday night at the Snyder Activity Center.

After the two schools failed to settle on an outcome in regulation with the score tied at 90, the Blues used the free-throw line to their advantage in the extra session and accounted for nine of their points from the charity stripe.

Bluefield State’s Shakir Dunning was responsible for six of his game-high 32 points in overtime, while teammate Treon Claiborne pitched in 31 points on the night.

David Sinickas, who led OVU (1-6) with 21 points, knocked down a 3-pointer off an assist from Arturs Vitins to give the Fighting Scots their first lead in overtime at 96-94 with 2:43 showing on the clock.

OVU did not make another shot from the floor during the next 2 1/2 minutes and Bluefield State outscored the Fighting Scots 11-2. OVU never got closer than four points the rest of the way.

“We played hard and well enough to win,” OVU coach Mike Snell said. “We have a locker room of kids who are very disappointed. They fought hard.”

When a pair of starters ran into the foul trouble in the first three minutes of the first half, both Sinickas and Robert Smelser came to the rescue off the bench. By intermission, Smelser had eight points and six rebounds, while Sinickas scored 10 points to go with five boards.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Sinickas and Sequan Lawrence allowed the Fighting Scots to create some breathing room at 18-13. Feeds from Povilas Dambrauskas and Jerry Macon Jr. resulted in two additional field goals from Sinickas which extended the margin to 23-15 just before a media timeout at 12:10.

Smelser created a nifty move in the post for a bucket which was part of a 6-0 run that gave OVU its largest lead at 29-17.

Bluefield College closed to within seven points at one juncture before the Fighting Scots walked into intermission owning a 49-37 cushion.

The ability to slash and drive by Claiborne and Dunning resulted in high-percentage shots as the second half began. Combined with the 3-point artistry of reserve Staccotta Dickerson, the Blues managed to connect on 77.8 percent (14-of-18) from the floor as the OVU lead evaporated into a 71-68 Bluefield College advantage with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

Down the stretch, the lead changed hands three times with a total of five ties. Samuel Ouedraogo’s putback squared the game at 90 with 2.9 seconds. OVU immediately called a timeout.

The inbounds pass from underneath the Bluefield State basket ended up in the hands of Macon Jr., who dribbled just shy of halfcourt and launched the potential game-winner.

The shot attempt hit the edge of the rim and out of bounds as time expired.

“When you are home, you have to win games,” Snell said.

Also scoring in double figures for OVU were Vitins (19), Lawrence (17) and Macon Jr. (16).

Macon Jr. also dished out a game-high eight assists.