Rebels rally past Wildcats in NEA Tournament play

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Riverside found itself trailing for the majority of the first three quarters in Tuesday night's first round NEA Tournament matchup against Trumann at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro. The Wildcats took a slim 47-46 edge into the final period but couldn't hold off the Rebels, who came up with just enough big plays in the final frame to squeak out a hard fought 61-58 come from behind victory.

Riverside's Gavin Stone skies for two points in NEA Tournament action Tuesday night at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.

Trumann, the underdog 11th seed, came ready to play, jumping to a 12-4 lead, thanks to back to back three pointers by Trey Simmons. The Rebels closed the quarter with a Braden Overman bucket to pull to within 12-6 after the first period.

Trumann continued to be the aggressor in the second quarter, forcing the Rebels into numerous turnovers while going on a 9-0 run to build its lead to 21-8. Matt Miles got the Wildcats started with a pair of baskets before Taylor Wilson's five foot leaner capped off the Trumann surge.

Luke Baker drove the lane for two to end the Rebel scoring drought. Overman and Baker canned back to back three pointers to begin a 15-8 Riverside run which closed the Rebel deficit to 29-23 at the half.

Rebel Luke Baker tries to squeeze in a basket as Trumann's Grayson Dye defends Tuesday night in first round NEA Tournament Action at Arkansas State University.

Riverside continued to fight back, scoring the first seven points to begin the second half, and took their first lead of the game, 30-29, on a strong inside move by junior post player Kody Winstead. Trumann came right back when Jay Jones buried consecutive treys from deep in the right corner, giving the Wildcats a 35-32 lead with 5:00 left in the quarter. A Baker free throw and a five-foot leaner from Kollin Stone tied things at 37-all. Trumann pulled away once more, outscoring the Rebels 9-2 over the next two minutes to take a 46-39 lead with 1:25 left in the period.

Riverside trailed 47-41 after an Andrews' free throw, but the Rebels closed the quarter strong when Bret Snyder canned a free throw, followed by consecutive baskets from Kollin Stone to slice the Wildcat advantage to 47-46 entering the final frame.

The two teams traded buckets to begin the fourth quarter before Kollin Stone nailed a pair of free throws with 5:35 left to give Riverside the lead for good, 50-49. The Rebels stretched their margin to four points when Stone connected on a free throw and followed up with a slashing drive to the basket for two more. Grayson Dye drilled a three pointer from the top of the key to cut the Rebel lead to 53-52 at the 3:35 mark.

Riverside held a two point edge until the 1:37 mark when Winstead put back a critical offensive rebound, giving the Rebels a 58-54 advantage. Riverside had chances to put the game away, but failed to convert at the foul line, hitting just three of eight attempts in the final 2:00 of play. The Wildcats capitalized, getting buckets from Andrews and Simmons to chop the Rebel lead to 60-58 with 43 seconds to go.

After Riverside misfired on a pair of free throws at the 19 second mark, Dye was called for an offensive foul, as boos reigned down from the Wildcat faithful, objecting to the call. Forced to foul, Trumann sent Baker to the line with 11 seconds left. The junior guard made one of two foul shots, giving the Wildcats once last chance to send the game into overtime. But Simmons' potential game tying three pointer missed the mark, allowing the Rebels to escape with the three point win.

Kollin Stone finished as Riverside's top scorer, pumping in 23 points. Baker chipped in 12 while Winstead also hit double digits, scoring 10. Overman had seven points, Gavin Stone netted six while Snyder added three. The Rebels connected on 17-29 free throws and nailed two treys. Riverside committed 22 turnovers in the game.

Andrews led the Wildcats with 13 points while Simmons and Miles finished with 10 and nine points respectively. Trumann went to the line just eight times, connecting on three, and canned four three pointers on the night. The Wildcats committed 23 turnovers.

The Rebels advance to Monday afternoon's quarterfinals where they will face the winner of the Westside-Salem matchup.

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