Senior Bradley Riester scored a go-ahead three pointer with 6.6 seconds remaining to give the University of Mary Washington men's basketball team a 66-64 victory over ninth-ranked St. Mary's College on Saturday in a Saturday afternoon Capital Athletic conference battle in the William M. Anderson Center. The Eagles improve to 7-1, equalling their best start since 2006-07.
UMW jumped ahead early, and led throughout the first half. Senior Dom Morra had a steal, layup, and free throw in the opening minutes and Riester hit the first of his five three pointers to give UMW an 8-3 lead with 15:38 left in the opening frame. The Seahawks were able to draw even at 11-11 with 11:27 left, but A Riester jumper and three pointer returned the lead to five at 16-11 with 10:25 to go.
UMW upped its lead to eight on a three pointer from Taylor Johnson with 6:41 left in the half, and the Eagles led by six, 33-27, at intermission.
A Riester three expanded UMW's lead to nine to start the second half, but the Seahawks scored seven straight to cut the lead to two at 36-34 with 18:37 left in the contest. Nick LaGuerre, held to just two first half points, took over, scoring 20 in the second half, including five in the opening run.
The Eagles returned the lead to six on a John Yoxthimer jumper with 16:31 left, but again the Seahawks answered, scoring five straight to cut the deficit to one at 40-39 with 15:49 to go. A Dylan Farinet three and a jumper from John Lutkehaus returned the lead to six, but a 14-8 run for the Seahawks tied the score for the first time in the second half with 8:28 remaining.
The 16-3 St. Mary's run gave the guests an eight point lead at 62-54 with just 4:06 remaining. Farinet hit a jumper and after a missed shot, Johnson hit a three pointer to cut the deficit back to three, and an offensive rebound and putback from Johnson with 1:55 to play cut the deficit to one at 62-61.
After a shot clock violation against the Seahawks, Morra cut through the lane, turned back to the basket, and made a layup with 50 seconds left to give UMW the lead at 63-62. With 12 seconds left, LaGuerre hit a pair of free throws to give SMC a 64-63 advantage, but UMW head coach Rod Wood elected not to call timeout. The move paid off as Riester hit one more three pointer with 6.6 seconds left.
SMC's Brendan McFall's last-second three pointer at the buzzer was partially blocked by Dajon Daniel, giving UMW its first win over a ranked team since the Eagles topped the Seahawks at the Anderson Center two seasons ago.
"To go down eight and regain our composure the way we did, shows that we learned from our Hampden Sydney loss", said Wood afterward. "At the end of the game, you need to execute and perform. I figured we'd be down with LaGuerre at the line with two shots... I liked the team I had out there, so I trusted that'd they'd execute, and Bradley stepped up once again to put us ahead, and we executed defensively to seal it."
When asked what he was thinking prior to his game winner, Riester said, "I was thinking I want it. I knew Dom would find me. I knew we had to go and win it, because no one gives you respect unless you win."
Riester led the Eagles with 17 points and six rebounds, while Farinet added 13 points and nine rebounds and Johnson scored 13 with five rebounds. Morra scored 12 points and added four assists and four steals.
The Eagles shot 40.7% from the field (24-59), but made just 8-27 thre-point looks, and went 10-16 from the free throw line. St. mary's shot 43.8% (21-48), and 7-23 three-point shots, and went 15-20 from the charity stripe. The Seahawks held a 33-32 edge in rebounds, but UMW committed just 10 turnovers while causing 17 turnovers.
The Eagles will get little time to celebrate, as they host seventh-ranked Virginia Wesleyan College on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.