BELTON, Texas – Junior Jason Palesse hit a three-pointer with just 0.9 seconds to go to lift the MSOE men's basketball team to a 73-70 victory over Louisiana College on the first day of the Cru Classic hosted by Mary Hardin-Baylor Thursday afternoon at Mayborn Campus Center.
The Raiders (6-4) overcame a 12-point second-half deficit to lead by as many as five in the closing minutes before Palesse's trey fended off the Wildcats (1-7) for good.
Palesse finished with 19 points, six assists, and was a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range. Sophomore Matthew Kirmse added five 3-pointers of his own on the way to 19 points and senior Tegan Miles finished with 17 points and nine boards.
Senior Nolan Henton led the defensive efforts with six steals in the game.
Taylan Grogan led Louisiana College with 21 points off the bench. Devon Washington added 12 points and Travis Schultz finished with 11.
MSOE had pulled ahead by five points on two occasions inside the final two minutes but Grogan scored eight-straight points for the Wildcats to keep them in the game. His three-pointer with 25 seconds remaining tied the score at 70-70 and set up the final play of the game.
With the ball, the Red & White called timeouts with 15 and five seconds remaining to adjust to the Louisiana College pressure and set up a clean look. On the decisive play, Miles took the inbounds pass and fed it back to Palesse, who created some separation at the top of the key to take the game-winning shot.
The Raiders had trailed 42-35 at halftime and fell behind by as many as 12 for the last time on a Grogan jumper with 13:57 remaining in regulation which made it 53-41. Freshman Brian Dorn answered with a quick jumper to start the team on a 13-0 run, holding the Wildcats scoreless for nearly seven minutes. When freshman Sammy Linn converted a three-point play at the 9:08 mark, it gave MSOE a 54-53 lead.
There were five ties down the stretch, including finally after the Grogan three-pointer with 25 seconds to go.
Behind Kirmse and Palesse, the Raiders hit on 10 three-pointers on 23 attempts and shot 45 percent on the day. The Wildcats shot just 5-for-16 over the final 13-plus minutes of the game to finish at a healthy 49 percent shooting for the game. They also went 15-for-17 at the free throw line compared to 9-of-13 for the Red & White.
The Cru Classic continues Friday as MSOE takes on host MHBU in the final game of the tournament at 5 p.m.