Cedarville, Ohio - Junior transfer Ervin Ezell (Deptford, N.J./Deptford High) scored the go-ahead basket with :30 seconds remaining in the second overtime period to lift the Holy Family University men's basketball team to a 74-72 victory over Cedarville University in the season opener as part of the Don Callan Classic Friday night.
Holy Family begins the season with a 1-0 record, while Cedarville is 0-1 to open its season.
With the game tied at 68-68, Ezell converted a pair of free throws to give the Tigers a 70-68 advantage with 1:31 remaining in the second overtime period.
On the following possession, Cedarville grabbed the lead right back after a clutch three-point basket by senior Austin Foote. The three-point basket gave the Yellow Jackets a 71-70 lead with :56 seconds showing on the clock.
After a Holy Family timeout, the Tigers regained the lead after Ezell's jumper made the score 72-71. Ezell finished with a game-high 28 points after shooting 7-of-18 from the field and 13-of-17 from the free throw line. He also grabbed nine rebounds and recorded five steals.
On the ensuing possession, Cedarville missed a three-point attempt as sophomore Eric Fleming (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Ryan) grabbed a clutch defensive rebound for the Tigers. He was immediately fouled and sent to the free throw line for two shots.
Fleming made the first shot to increase the Tigers' lead to 73-71, but came up short on the second attempt as Cedarville grabbed the rebound. After a timeout, the Yellow Jackets were able to get off a three-point shot but again came up short. However, senior Caleb Maxwell was able to grab the offensive board and in the process was fouled sending him to the line for two shots.
Maxwell missed the first attempt, but made the second to make the score 73-72 with four seconds left in the period. On the ensuing possession, Cedarville quickly fouled Ezell sending him to the line for two shots. Ezell missed the first, but came through on the second attempt to give the Tigers a 74-72 lead with three seconds showing on the clock.
The Holy Family defense would go on to force a turnover as Cedarville was unable to attempt a shot to potentially tie the game as the Tigers held on for the two-point victory.
For Holy Family, junior Alberto Munoz (Morrisville, N.C./Cardinal Gibbons) tallied 21 points after draining five three-pointers, while freshman Hunter Wysocki (Colts Neck, N.J./Colts Neck) contributed 12 points off the bench to go along with 11 rebounds to record a double-double in his first collegiate game.
Holy Family trailed by seven points with just over five minutes to play in regulation after Cedarville junior Brian Grant split a pair of free throws to extend the Yellow Jackets' lead to 56-49.
Holy Family followed with 5-0 run to come within two points of the lead. A three-pointer by Fleming capped the mini-run cutting the lead to 56-54 with 4:39 to play in regulation.
A basket by Cedarville made the score 58-54 with 4:03 showing on the clock. However, a pair of free throws by Ezell brought the Tigers within one possession of the lead (58-56).
Holy Family would go on to tie the game at 58-58 with 2:15 remaining in regulation after Wysocki converted a pair of free throws. Wysocki was fouled after grabbing an offensive board.
Despite multiple possessions by both teams in the final two-plus minutes, neither team was able to score the potential go-ahead basket forcing overtime.
Free throws turned out to be a factor down the stretch as Holy Family converted 16-of-21 from the line in the second half and in overtime. Holy Family shot 63.3-percent (19-30) from the free throw line for the game, while Cedarville shot 57.1-percent (16-28).
Senior Zimmy Nwogbo highlighted the Yellow Jackets box score as he led the game with 21 rebounds and led the team with 23 points. Nwogbo shot 8-of-15 from the field and was 7-of-10 from the free throw line. Foote added 15 points, while sophomore Jason Cuffee contributed 12 points and seven rebounds.
Holy Family is back in action tomorrow as the Tigers face Urbana University in a non-conference contest. Game time is slated for 2:00 p.m.
- HFU -