Men’s basketball team upsets No. 1 Ancilla

The men’s basketball team (18-8, 10-5 MCCAA) made an improbable comeback on Wednesday night to beat the No. 1 team in the country, 94-92. Down 88-77 with minutes remaining in the game, GRCC went on a 17-4 run to topple the top-ranked Ancilla Chargers (24-2, 14-1 MCCAA), which had previously won 15 straight games.

The first half was played at a blistering pace. The Raiders shot 50 percent from the floor and 8/21 from behind the arc, while Ancilla hit 47 percent of its shots for the half. GRCC pushed out to a 54-49 halftime lead thanks to hot shooting from Zachary Pangborn, who shot 6/10 from the floor for 21 first half points, and Curtis Davison who scored 18.

In the second stanza, the No. 1 ranked Chargers began to flex their muscle and show why they were regarded so highly by the pollsters. The Raiders offense that was so potent in the first half was limited after Ancilla switched its defense from man-to-man to zone. GRCC’s three-point shooting turned cold, allowing the Chargers to build a double digit lead. With the clock rolling under one minute, the Chargers still lead by a comfortable 10-point margin, 92-82. After Ancilla turned the ball over with 55 seconds left on the clock, Pangborn drove to the hoop and hit a difficult shot while being fouled. Pangborn would knock down the free throw, closing the deficit to seven: 92-85 with 48 seconds left.

On the ensuing inbounds pass, Ancilla’s Ty’Sean Sheppard lost the handle on the ball, dribbling it off his own foot out of bounds. The crowd in the Gordon Hunsberger Arena sensed the momentum building in GRCC’s favor. Down by seven with 46 seconds remaining, GRCC needed a quick basket. Pangborn delivered once again, burying a three-pointer with 42 seconds to go and cutting the Charger lead to 4. To extend the game, GRCC fouled Sheppard after the inbound pass, sending him to the line for a one and one. Sheppard missed the first free throw and the Raiders pushed the ball up the court, finding Davison in the corner for three. GRCC trailed by one, 92-91 with 32 seconds left in the contest.

Coach Bronkema once again elected to press the Chargers in hopes of another turnover. On the inbounds pass, GRCC’s Darron Ewing Jr. committed his 5th personal foul, sending Ancilla’s top free throw shooting guard Jair Rodgers (91 percent) to the line. Rodgers would miss the front end of the one and one, allowing the Raiders to rebound the ball and call their last timeout with 29 seconds left in the game. The atmosphere in the arena was electric as the Raiders took the floor with a chance to take the last shot and beat the No. 1 team in the country. GRCC inbounded the ball and Anthony McIntosh let the clock run down to 10 seconds before passing it to Davison, who without hesitation lifted and drained a three-pointer with 6.5 seconds on the clock, giving GRCC the lead 94-92. Ancilla had one last chance to tie or take the lead. Tyler Chisom took the ball the length of the court but missed a difficult layup as time expired, giving the Raiders a huge victory.

The Raiders were led in scoring by Davison, who had 38 points (8 threes), and Zack Pangborn at 31 points (6 threes). On the night the Raiders were 15/43 (34 percent) from three-point land and committed a season low seven turnovers.

The Chargers had four players in double figures led by Tyler Chisom with 24; Jair Rodgers, 21; DK Fox, 19; and Teyon Scanlan with 12.

GRCC men’s and women’s teams will travel to Kellogg Community College on Saturday, February 24, for their next game.

 

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