#1-ranked Golden Eagles fall in OT to open 2017-18 season
The Cornerstone men’s basketball team, ranked #1 in NAIA Div. II, opened their season Friday night at the WHAC/CL Challenge with a surprising overtime loss to #6 Indiana Wesleyan. A late loose ball foul in the final seconds lead to the dramatic 90-89 final.
Michael Bradshaw scored 22 points to lead six players in double figures for the Golden Eagles.
Foul trouble and poor free-throw shooting (12/26) from the Golden Eagles ultimately cost them the game. Kyle Steigenga and Sam Vander Sluis, quite possibly the most talented frontcourt in the NAIA, each dealt with foul trouble in the game. Both had multiple fouls in the first half and Indiana Wesleyan led 39-32 at the break.
In the second half, Cornerstone fought back and took a 65-53 lead with just under 10 minutes to go. The Wildcats, though, would climb their way back to tie the game and take a 76-73 lead with less than 15 seconds on the clock. Bradshaw, who stepped up after Steigenga fouled out, launched a deep three to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, the final 15 seconds again would decide the outcome. With the score tied 89-89 and 14.7 seconds on the clock, Cornerstone took possession of the ball but turned it over and committed a loose ball with just one second left on the clock. The Wildcats made the second free throw and CU’s 3/4-court last second heave was off the mark.
“It is always a battle with Indiana Wesleyan and it came down to just a couple of possessions. We did not back down after digging a hole and we need to come out better tomorrow”, coach Kim Elders told reporters.
Steigenga, the 3-time NAIA All-American, scored 15 points and freshman Christian Rodriguez, (Godwin Heights) added 15 of his own. Vander Sluis and Riley Coston each scored 13 points.
Cornerstone will take on host school Spring Arbor on Saturday at 3 p.m.