Boro men upset #16 IUP in OT thriller

Contributed Photo: Edinboro Sports Information
Henri Wade-Chatman (above left) was held to eight points, but Edinboro still prevailed in a 79-77 overtime thriller against Indiana (Pa.) Saturday in McComb Fieldhouse.
Scots upend nationally-ranked

By Mike Fenner
Staff Writer/Spectator

After Indiana (Pa.) fifth year senior Jeremy Jeffers buried a left wing three-pointer to beat the horn on the last play of regulation that would send the game into overtime tied at 70 apiece, his right wing three would misfire on the final play of the extra frame to preserve a massive Edinboro men’s basketball upset victory.

The Fighting Scots (12-12, 9-11 PSAC), who broke a three game losing streak overall in the process, upset the nation’s 16th ranked team in IUP (20-5, 14-5) with a heart stopping, 7977, overtime win at McComb Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s big for our team just because it helps us get one step closer to making the conference tournament and that was our goal from the beginning of the year,” head coach Pat Cleary said. “The guys were very resilient and I’m just proud that they were able to tough it out.”

Edinboro broke a 13-game skid in the series that dated back to the Scots’ last triumph against its long time conference foe in the 2008-09 season. For Cleary, in his second year as Edinboro’s head coach, Saturday marked the first win over a ranked opponent [previously 0-4] under his leadership.

The Scots, who entered the contest with a record of 1-5 in games decided by five points or fewer this season, hope to use Saturday’s results as tangible evidence that effort marks improvement that can springboard the team forward.

“I think it can help us get over the hump,” Cleary said. “I mean, we’ve been so close so many times. I’m just glad that the guys can see that hard work gets results.”

Redshirt freshman point guard Jaymon Mason, who paced the Scots with 24 points, knocked down a pair of free throws with just under five seconds remaining in regulation to give Edinboro a 70-67 lead before Jeffers’ late game heroics extended the game.

“I was shocked, honestly, but I knew we still had five more minutes to compete and try to beat a ranked team so we just kept staying positive,” Mason said after witnessing Jeffers’ buzzer beater.

Finding himself in a familiar spot just minutes later, Mason, who has a 86.8 free throw shooting percentage and had converted all five of his free throws leading up to a trip to the line with nine seconds left in the extra period, missed consecutive shots at the charity stripe prior to the final missed attempt by Jeffers.

“I was just going up there confident, as confident as I could be,” Mason said of his return trip to the foul line. “Unfortunately they couldn’t fall for me, but I’m thankful that we got the stop for the win. Beat ing a great team like that is just a great feeling.” The General McLane product flirted with a double-double as he turned in one of his best performances of the season, pulling down nine rebounds, while dishing out six assists to zero turnovers in 44 minutes of play. IUP senior point guard Devante Chance, a preseason first team all-PSAC selection who is among the top assist men in the nation (5.9 per game), scored 18 points with six assists and five boards, playing all 45 minutes in the loss. “With Jaymon, it kind of never feels like he’s a freshman. We’ve got to kind of remind ourselves of that,” Cleary said. “He is very, very good and I think sometimes we kind of let our expectations get a little ahead of ourselves, but he is only a freshman.” Despite the Scots traditional scoring leader and the PSAC’s second leading scorer in junior guard Henri Wade-Chatman being limited to eight points in the win, Edinboro’s bench came to the rescue.

Sophomore reserve guard Sheldon Brogdon shot 5-10 from the floor, 3-6 from long range and made all three of his free throw attempts to compile 16 points in 27 minutes, while junior backup center Tommy Scales tallied 15 points to go along with a pair of rebounds and three blocks in 23 minutes.

“We all put in great work the last two days of practice and this was a good team win that we needed,” Mason said. “We all contributed. We can all feel good about ourselves.”

After Edinboro jumped out to a 4-0 lead, IUP would ride an 11-4 run to grab an 11-8 advantage within the opening eight minutes before the Scots led 33-31 at halftime.

In a first half that featured just 12 total foul calls and eight free throw attempts, Cleary knew right off the bat that the officiating crew would let each team display its physicality. 

“I thought once the guys realized that the whistles weren’t going to go in our direction we kind of quit looking for them,” Cleary said. “We just kept it simple and we did what we needed to do.”

Edinboro owned a 14-6 edge on the offensive glass that resulted in outscoring its opponent 14-4 on second chance points.

“We know that if we get down to it we can fight with anybody, we can compete with anybody and we can out physical anybody,” Mason said. “We’ve just got to get ready for the next one.”

Edinboro hosts Pitt-Johnstown in its regular season finale at McComb Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Feb. 25. Seniors Casey Baker and Sam SealyJames will be honored on Senior Night for the Fighting Scots. That game tips off at 7:30 p.m.

Mike Fenner is a staff writer for the Spectator. He can be reached by sports.specator@gmail.com