HARTSVILLE, S.C. – In front of a packed house, junior guard Delonte Doles (Newport News, Va.) nailed a pair of free throws with just 11 ticks on the clock to give the #4 seed Coker Cobras a 89-87 lead and the eventual win over the #5 seed Pfeiffer Falcons in the Quarterfinals of the Conference Carolinas Men’s Basketball Tournament on Monday night at Coker’s Timberlake-Lawton Gymnasium.
The win advances the Cobras to the semifinal round where they will face the #8 seed Belmont Abbey, who pulled a stunning upset of top seed Queens University of Charlotte 84-81. The game will be played Thursday at 7 p.m. at Coker’s Timberlake-Lawton Gymnasium, as Coker is the higher seed.
A hard and fast-paced game from the opening tip, it was evident Pfeiffer was looking to avenge their 98-86 loss to Coker in Hartsville just six days earlier. The first half was very close through the first eight minutes, but a 10-2 run by Coker gave the Cobras a 30-18 lead with nine minutes left.
The Falcons answered with a 7-1 run of their own, bringing the game to 31-27 in favor of Coker, with 6:30 left. The teams battled over the next three minutes, but Pfeiffer could not get any closer. Coker finished out the half with a 11-6 run to take a 50-42 lead into the break.
The second half was all about momentum, and Pfeiffer held most of it. The Falcons continued to chip away at the Cobras but were unable to gain more than a one or two point lead. They tied the game six times in the final six minutes of play.
With just 18 seconds left, a three-point play by Chris Woods tied the game for the last time. Then with 11 seconds remaining, Pfeiffer sent Doles to the charity stripe for a one-and-one where he drained both and gave the Cobras the lead and the win, 89-87.
Senior Joselle Bracy (Ruby, S.C.) lead the Cobras with 16 points and four rebounds, while freshman Julian Nelson (Irmo, S.C.) knocked down a career high of 15, including nine from long range. Tom Wright (Sydney, Australia) and Vatrick Thompson (Columbia, S.C.) each netted 12, with Wright pulling down seven rebounds and dishing out eight assists and Thompson grabbing four boards. Doles finished the night with seven points and six assists.
The Falcons were led by their star player Woods and his double-double of 31 points and 12 rebounds, while Reggie Hollinger had 16 points with seven rebounds. Josh Humphrey added 14 points to the effort and Jeff Pettiway had 12.
The Cobras will be back in action on Thursday as they host the #8 seed Belmont Abbey Crusaders in the semifinal round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament. This will mark the first time in school history that Coker has hosted a semifinal game. The winner will advance to the championship game on Saturday against the winner of #2 seed Limestone and #3 seed Barton.