(CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky.) – The Thomas More College men's basketball team opened the season tonight (Wednesday, November 15, 2017) with an 88-84 double overtime loss to traditional-rival Wilmington College at the Connor Convocation Center in Crestview Hills, Kentucky.
The first half was tight as the game saw 12 lead changes and eight ties, while Thomas More's biggest lead was two points and Wilmington's was four points as the Quakers led 31-28 at halftime.
The Saints opened the second half on a 20-6 run to build a 48-37 lead when first-year forward Garren Bertsch (Alexandria, Ky./Campbell County) made a three-pointer with 11:25 to play in the second half. Wilmington closed out the half on a 24-13 lead to force overtime when Payton Smith made a lay-up to tie the game at 61-61.
Wilmington jumped out to a 68-65 lead in the first overtime when Nathan Scott made a jumper with 1:11 to play to cap a 7-4 run. Thomas More responded with a 4-0 run to take a 69-68 lead when junior forward Ralph Stone (Shelbyville, Ky./Martha Layne Collins) made a lay-up with 20-second to play in the first overtime. Andrew Russell made one-of-two free-throws for Wilmington with four-seconds to play to tie the game at 69-69 to force a second overtime.
The Quakers took the lead to start the second overtime and never led Thomas More take the lead as they went onto the 88-84 victory.
"Credit Wilmington for being physical and hard nose throughout the game, stated Thomas More Head Coach Drew Cooper. "Down the stretch they just made more plays and shots."
Thomas More had four players finish double-figures led by junior guard/forward Brandon Horne (Louisville, Ky./Male) with 16 points. Stone and junior guard Ryne Callahan (Morehead, Ky./Rowan County) each finished with 14 points, senior forward/center Simon Clifford (Louisville, Ky./Dupont Manual) added 12 points and junior guard Damion King (Winchester, Ky./George Rogers Clark) finished with 11 points. Horne and Stone finished with double-doubles as they had 13 and 10 rebounds respectively.
The Saints return to action on November 17 and 18 when they host the Coach Jim Connor Classic sponsored by the Holiday Inn Cincinnati Airport. Thomas More will play Otterbein University at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Kent State University at Tuscarawas on Saturday at 4 p.m.