CALDWELL, N.J. – Sophomore Deondre Bourne hit an off-balance three from the left wing with 2.9 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and the #12/15 Thomas Jefferson University men's basketball team (19-2, 12-0 CACC) pulled out a 79-70 victory in the extra session at Caldwell (12-8, 8-4 CACC) on Saturday.
The two squads were even at eight apiece early on when the Cougars began to take control. Caldwell posted an 11-0 run, which included a trio of threes, to take a 19-8 lead with 7:44 on the clock. Trailing 26-17 (2:53), the Rams cut the deficit to three with six straight points, all by senior Prince Hickson. However, the Cougars countered with a 7-0 stretch to lead 33-23 at halftime.
In the second, the teams went back and forth for the opening five minutes. Leading by eight (39-31), Caldwell posted six points in a row for its largest margin of the day (45-31) with 14:17 to play. Jefferson began to rally back into the contest, pouring in 12 of the next 16 to close the gap to six (49-43) with 9:59 left. The Cougars got their advantage back to 10 (56-46) with 6:36 remaining.
A 9-2 stretch by the Rams made it a three-point game (58-55) with 1:53 to go. Senior Kylan Guerra was sent to the line and made two foul shots (0:20) to make the score 58-57. Jefferson committed a foul and Caldwell made both attempts to restore a three-point spread (60-57) with 15 seconds to play. On the Rams' final possession, Guerra brought the ball up and handed it off to Bourne on the right side past midcourt. Bourne dribbled across to his left and pulled up under pressure with an off-balance shot just beyond the arc that found the net to silence the Caldwell crowd and force overtime.
In the extra period, senior DeVaughn Mallory scored the first basket to put Jefferson up two. After a Cougars free throw, Bourne made a layup to give the Rams a three-point lead, 64-61 (3:51). With Jefferson ahead 65-63, Caldwell was off the mark with a pair of three-pointers and Bourne recorded another layup to make it a four-point game with 1:59 to go. After the Cougars got within two, they went cold, shooting just 2-for-6 from the field, and the Rams went a perfect 12-for-12 at the line to seal the come-from-behind win.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Mallory posted a double-double with a game-high 19 points and 12 rebounds. He shot 6-for-12 on the day.
- Bourne and sophomore Ja'Zere Noel each totaled 14 points and Guerra followed with 13. Guerra also dished four assists.
- Hickson produced 12 points and seven boards.
AS A TEAM
- The Rams were 22-for-53 (41.5%) from the field, 4-for-21 (19.0%) from three-point range and 31-for-37 (83.8%) at the line.
- Jefferson held Caldwell to 33.9% (21-of-62) shooting, including just 31.4% (11-of-35) after halftime.
- The Rams' 31 free throws were their highest total of the season and the most since December 29, 2018 versus Molloy (31).
- It was head coach Herb Magee's 1,115th career victory.
The Rams travel to Post on Saturday, February 8 for a 3 p.m. game.