HAAC Athletic News
Men's Basketball - Sat, Feb. 4, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Chris Henderson hit two free throws with 24 seconds to play to help visiting Graceland pick up a 77-75 win over Avila, Saturday afternoon at Mabee Fieldhouse in the Heart of America Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Game of the Week. Postgame Quotes | Box Score
 

Henderson hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final minute as he and Avila point guard Curtis Churchman went back and forth making plays for their respective teams to end a game that saw 13 ties, 18 lead changes and no lead greater than seven points.

Garrett Grundman hit a pair of free throws with 1:19 remaining to tie the game at 73-73 after Austin Stockard had drained a three-pointer to give Avila a two-point advantage at the 3:23 mark. Kelby Phelps looked like he would give Avila the lead on a drive to the basket, but his short jumper rolled off the rim to Graceland.

Henderson worked the ball into the frontcourt and drew a foul on Churchman, where he 1-of-2 free throws for a 74-73 lead. Churchman answered on the next possession as he hit a pull-up jumper at the left elbow to switch the one-point lead to the home team.

The two ball handlers went head-to-head one more time and once again, Henderson was able to draw a foul. He worked his way into the paint, where a short jumper missed the mark. Henderson was able to corral the loose ball and was fouled on his put back attempt and made both free throws to flip the lead for the final time.

Churchman went looking for a potential game-winner and again drove down the left side of the lane. However, he lost the handle on the ball and Trae Patton ended up with the loose ball. He was fouled and knocked down 1-of-2 free throws for a two-point cushion.

With 5.2 seconds remaining, there was plenty of time for Avila to get a good look at the basket. They did just that as Stockard got a clean look from three-point range on the right wing, but his attempt went off the back side of the rim and the Yellowjackets secured the rebound to pick up their 9th win in 11 games since dropping the first meeting between the two teams back on December 10.

Avila had the biggest lead of the game early in the first half, leading by seven on a pair of occasions. Graceland was able to fight off a 27-13 rebounding deficit by shooting 48 percent in the first half to take the game into the break tied at 37-37.

Graceland came out of the break and seized the early momentum, grabbing a 6-point lead inside the first 2:30 and again at 46-40 after a jumper by Brad Burgus. Setting the tone for the rest of the half, Avila battled back and used a 11-5 run to knot the teams at 51-51. No team would lead by more than 3 points over the final 13:04 as there would be 7 ties and 10 lead changes over that period.

Lost in the late game drama was the performance of Burgus, who led all scorers with 31 points on 11-of-20 shooting that included four 3-pointers and 5-of-6 free throws. Nick Mikle added 12 points and a team-high 7 rebounds while Grundman and Alex Roth chipped in 10 points apiece.

Churchman had 21 points and 10 assists for Avila, which drops into a tie for third place and trails league-leading MidAmerica Nazarene by three games with six games remaining. Zach Smith had 14 points and 8 rebounds while Stockard kicked in 11 points and 6 rebounds. The Eagles dominated inside with a 44-29 rebounding margin, but shot just 5-of-25 (.200) from three-point range and 14-of-21 (.667) from the free throw line.

Graceland (15-8, 7-5 HAAC) returns home on Thursday, February 9 against Central Methodist while Avila (15-8, 8-4) hosts MNU with both games set to tip-off at 7:30pm.

 
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