The Clarion men’s basketball team rallied to upset the number two team in the PSAC West this past Saturday at the Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium.
The Golden Eagles defeated Mercyhurst 67-62 thanks to a second half surge.
Clarion Head Coach Marcess Williams emphasized how big of a win this was for his team.
“This was a very big win for us against a quality team,” Williams stated. “We couldn’t afford to lose at home; we had to keep pace with the rest of the conference because everyone is bunched up together and there is very little margin for error.”
Clarion got off to a sluggish start, shooting only 25 percent from the field and ending the first half down 35-23.
However, the momentum shifted in the second half in the Golden Eagles favor.
The Clarion comeback started at the 17:58 point in the second half when the Lakers led 39-27.
At that point, the Golden Eagles went on an 18-2 run to take the lead for the first time in the second half.
The run was sparked in large part by senior big man Tim Gill, who scored on two- and-ones in three offensive possessions while adding two free throws.
Mercyhurst would end up taking the lead again with 5:58 left to play, when senior forward Kayode Ajenifuja hit a free throw to put his team up 50-49.
That would be the last time the Lakers led in the game.
Junior guard BJ Andrews made a pair of free throws to put Clarion up 57-53 and then added a midrange jumper with under three minutes remaining to put his team up by six points.
Mercyhurst cut Clarion’s lead to one point with 1.5 seconds left in regulation when junior guard Hi’an Hale made a layup.
The Lakers then fouled Clarion’s senior guard Rob Agurs, who scored a pair of free throws to put the game away.
The Golden Eagles were led throughout the game by Gill and Agurs.
Gill led the team in points, scoring 22 points while shooting 86 percent and pulling down five rebounds.
Agurs led the team in rebounds, pulling down 12 rebounds and scoring 16 points.
After this win, the Golden Eagles are beaming with confidence and are excited about what they are capable of doing down the stretch.
“We honestly feel like we can make a run at the PSAC championship and hopefully make a deep run in the national tournament,” sophomore guard Cameron Grumley said. “We feel like we have the talent and chemistry to do so.”
The Golden Eagles returned to action this past Wednesday at home against IUP, but the results came in too late for this publication.
The Golden Eagles will then hit the road on Saturday, Feb. 13 to take on PSAC foe Edinboro.