By: Ed Beach
LEBANON, Ill. – It took overtime, but the Drury Panthers held off McKendree 82-77 at the Price Convocation Center in Lebanon, Illinois, on Thursday to win their fourth in a row.
Drury raised their record to 9-8 while dropping the Bearcats to 6-6.
The Panthers had a three-point lead in the closing seconds of regulation when McKendee’s Brendon Gooch hit a three-pointer with four seconds remaining that forced the game in overtime tied at 67-67.
Drury started the extra period on a 9-0 run and held off the Bearcats, outscoring them 15-10 in OT.
“It was a grind,” said Drury head coach Steve Hesser. “(McKendree head coach) Chris Foster does an outstanding job, and it was tough to score tonight. We made some mistakes at the end of regulation, but the thing that I liked was that we’re growing up and getting tougher. Two weeks ago, or a month ago, negative stuff would happen, and it would deflate us. Tonight, we came out in the overtime and did some really nice things.”
Drury sophomore Jason Montgomery scored eight of his game-high 29 points in the overtime, and the St. Louis native went 11 for 16 from the field, 3 for 7 from three-point range, and 4 for 4 from the free-throw line. Conley Garrison had a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Malek Davis added 12 points marking his sixth straight game in double-figures.
Alijah Thomas led McKendree with 23 points.
Drury forced the Bearcats into 17 turnovers while only committing nine. McKendree shot 47 percent, hitting 29 of their 62 shots, while the Panthers made 43 percent of their field goals, going 30 for 70 from the field.
The game marked the second time this season the two teams battled each other into overtime. Drury won the earlier meeting this season, 92-88, in OT on Jan. 6 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.
The Panthers conclude their three-game road trip on Saturday when they take on Southern Indiana for a 1 pm game in Evansville, Indiana.