Marked Tree slips past BIC 59-56 in NEA quarterfinals
Nick Andrews' short jumper on an inbounds play with 31 seconds remaining helped Marked Tree squeeze past Buffalo Island Central 59-56 in the quarterfinals of the 69th annual Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament Monday, Dec. 28, at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.
The Mustangs began the fourth quarter trailing 47-43, but drew even when Travon Cobb dropped in back to back buckets to even the game 47-all at the 4:47 mark. The contest remained tied until LaQuentin Miles nailed a free throw with two minutes to go to put the Indians on top, 54-53. Miles followed with a driving lay-in at the 1:41 mark, upping the Marked Tree advantage to 56-53.
BIC answered when sophomore Andrew McFarlin sank a five-footer with 1:25 left to slice the Indian lead to a single point, 56-55. After Miles missed the front end of a one and one, Marked Tree fouled Cory Turner, sending the 5'10" Mustang junior to the free throw line. Turner connected on one of two charity tosses to tie the contest for the last time, 56-56, with 55 seconds remaining.
Andrews flipped in what proved to be the game winner with 31 ticks left. Trey DePriest misfired with 21 seconds to go, and Marked Tree's Colby Malone snared the rebound and was fouled. Malone drained the front end of the one and one but missed the bonus attempt, leaving the Indians ahead 59-56 with 18 seconds showing on the clock.
Both teams missed front ends of one and one's in the final 13 seconds. The Mustangs had one last chance to send the game into overtime, but Cobb's three pointer from beyond the top of the key missed the mark, allowing the Indians to escape with the victory.
BIC struggled out of the gate in the opening quarter, falling behind 8-0 before rallying to trim the lead to 16-12 after the first break. Marked Tree extended its lead to 33-23 at the half behind the scoring of Andrews and D'Angelo Griffin. The Mustangs fought back in the third stanza, getting three pointers from Cobb, Turner and McFarlin to cut the Indian advantage to four entering the final frame.
McFarlin scored a game high 20 points to lead the Mustangs while DePriest added 16 more. Cobb, who picked up three fouls in the first quarter, netted nine, while Turner had eight. Dax Hurst chipped in three points. BIC connected on 14-20 free throws and drained six treys.
Griffin topped the Indians with 18 points while Andrews added 13 more. Marked Tree struggled from the foul line, hitting just eight of 20 attempts, while making one three pointer on the night.