Wolverines win four-overtime thriller, 111-101


NEW WILMINGTON, PA, January 26, 2002--Typical Grove City-Westminster... atypical finish.

Grove City College used a 20-2 second-half run, a buzzer-beater at the end of regulation and sixty total minutes of basketball to defeat local rival Westminster College Saturday night in New Wilmington.  A four-overtime 111-101 victory marked the longest game in the history of both schools and left the crowd of more than 1,500 at Buzz Ridl Gymnasium with a memory they'll not soon forget.

Sophomore forward Tanner Prosser (Pittsburgh, PA/Brentwood) tipped in an Andy Vlajkovich pass (Canfield, OH/Canfield) as time expired in regulation to forge a 61-all tie.

In the first overtime, Grove City took  a 72-68 lead with 26 seconds left but Westminster's Mike Hill collected a three-point play and after freshman Nate Maurer (Mount Lebanon, PA/The Linsly School) split a pair of foul shots, Hill's lay-up with 11 seconds left forced the second overtime at 73-73.

The Wolverines took a 78-77 lead in the second overtime on a 17-foot jumper from freshman J.D. Collar (Cincinnati, OH/Anderson), who played a career-high 29 minutes in the victory. The Titans (7-12) rallied to tie the game at 80 with 25 seconds left and neither team scored down the stretch.

Westminster twice took a three-point lead in the third extra session. With 34 seconds remaining, Hill hit his fifth three of the night to give the Titans a 92-89 lead. However, Grove City sophomore guard Ian Dean (Damascus, MD/Damascus) swished a triple to tie the game with 15 seconds left, forcing the fourth overtime.

Grove City never trailed in the fourth overtime. Dean turned a Collar assist into another three while Bushre added a lay-up and Prosser connected on three free throws.

The Wolverines trailed 30-23 at halftime and managed just two points in the first 6:30 of the second half before charging back.  After Westminster took a 16-point lead, 43-27, Grove City used a 15-0 run to cut the deficit to one, 43-42.  Five Wolverines chipped in points during the spurt, including senior Pat Roberts (Home, PA/Marion Center), who accounted for five. 

Vlajkovich nailed a three-pointer at the seven-minute mark to complete a 20-2 run and put the Wolverines ahead, 47-45.  The game was tied, 49-49, before Westminster upped its lead to six, 59-53, with 1:26 remaining.  Grove City battled back again, taking advantage of two Titan turnovers and three missed free throws to tie the game at the end of regulation.

Prosser led the Wolverines in scoring with 23 points. The 6-foot-4 forward also had seven rebounds and five blocks. Roberts nearly amassed a triple-double with 17 points, 14 rebounds and a career-high eight assists while sophomore Phil Bushre (Swartz Creek, MI/Swartz Creek) added 17 points in his first game back since suffering a concussion. Roberts played a school-record 49 minutes.

Also for Grove City, Vlajkovich added 15 and four assists while Dean racked up 12 points. Maurer and Collar added 11 and 10, respectively, for the Wolverines.

Grove City led by as many as five points in the first half but Westminster took the lead with a 21-8 run in the latter portion of the first half.

The Wolverines went 35-of-50 at the free-throw line and committed just 14 turnovers in 60 minutes. Three players fouled out for each team.

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