SANTA BARBARA, Calif. --- Trailing by 10 points with just over a minute to play, the South Dakota School of Mines men's basketball team made another dramatic comeback during play Thursday night against Westmont College to force overtime only to see the Warriors hit a last-second mid-court buzzer beater to defeat the Hardrockers, 73-71, at Santa Barbara, Calif.
The Hardrockers had a successful comeback victory Wednesday night, upending Azusa Pacific, 61-59, after trailing most of that game, but it just wasn't in the cards for the visitors in Thursday's outing despite an amazing comeback effort. SD Mines trailed by 17 with just under seven minutes to go in the second half.
Free throws were the main storyline of the contest as Westmont missed some clutch free throws at the end of regulation to allow the Hardrockers to tie the game, but SD Mines missed a couple of important free throws in overtime to set up the dramatic finish.
The Warriors led at the half, 29-23, but the Hardrockers outscored the home team, 42-36, in the second period, and Westmont bettered SD Mines in the extra period, 8-6.
For the game, the Hardrockers were 23-64 from the field and 21-29 from the free throw line while the Warriors converted 24-58 baskets and made good on 20-34 from the foul line.
SD Mines freshman Troy Whiteto, who tied the game with three seconds left in regulation (65-65), led the Hardrockers with a career-high 18 points and junior Caleb Shockman, who hit a couple of key jumpers in that last minute of regulation to send the game into OT, ended with 13 points, six rebounds, a blocked shot and one steal. Junior Andrew Rebol contributed with 11 points and five rebounds and Konor Kulas added nine markers on the night.
The heartbreaking loss drops SD Mines to 9-6 on the season and the Hardrockers will end their weeklong road trip Saturday afternoon in Phoenix Ariz., taking on the Arizona Christian Firestorm in a 1 p.m. meeting.