ST. LOUIS, MO. -- The third time must’ve been the charm for the University of Missouri-St. Louis men’s basketball team, which played its third straight game against a nationally-ranked opponent Thursday night at the Mark Twain Gymnasium.
UMSL just returned home from a two-game road-trip at No. 17 Southern Indiana and No. 9 Kentucky Wesleyan, and in both games played well enough to win, but couldn’t hold on in the end.
On Thursday, it was the other way around, as No. 4 Bellarmine University led 50-35 with 11:56 to play.
But a 25-10 run to knot the score at 60, and brilliant play by the Tritons in the overtime periods allowed the home team to pull out a heart-stopping 87-82 win over the previously undefeated Knights.
Senior guard Joshua McCoy was terrific during the second half and first overtime specifically, for UMSL, scoring 16 straight points at the end of regulation and through the first extra period to keep the Tritons in the game.
McCoy finished the night with a game-high 28 points, in a matchup of the GLVC’s two division preseason favorites.
UMSL, which won the GLVC West last year, was picked to finish first in the division again this season, while Bellarmine was favored to win the GLVC East this year.
For the first 30 minutes of the game, Bellarmine looked like it might not only be the best team in the East, but that it might be the best team in the league, as the Knights simply outclassed UMSL to build a 15-point lead.
But the Tritons wouldn’t fold, and staged an incredible 25-10 run to tie the score with just over three minutes left.
UMSL even went ahead 68-65 on a pair of free throws by McCoy with 19 seconds left, but Bellarmine’s Vance Hall flipped in a layup and drew a foul to tie the score with 12 seconds left -- sending the game to overtime.
Both clubs scored eight points in the first overtime. But it was UMSL that needed a dramatic three-point play with less than a minute to go to force a second extra period.
Senior Isiah Nunn, who had 17 points in 17 minutes for the Tritons, scored on a lay-up and added the free throw to send the game to overtime No. 2.
The final five minutes was all UMSL, as the Tritons scored the first five points of the period and held that edge for the rest of the game to get the team’s first GLVC win of the season.
Bellarmine fell to 10-1 overall and 2-1 in GLVC play this season.
UMSL, which is now 8-4 on the year, will be back in action on Saturday, when the Tritons will host McKendree University in a 3 p.m. contest at the Mark Twain Gym.
Score by Periods ........... 1 ... 2 ... OT1 OT2 -- Final Score
Bellarmine ..................... 35 . 33 ..... 8 ..... 6 -- 82
UMSL ............................. 29 . 39 ..... 8 .... 11 -- 87
Bellarmine -- Chris Dowe 24, Vance Hall 20, Jake Thelen 14, Keisten Jones 13, Jelani Johnson 5, Ryan Burton 3, Alex Pritchett 2, Max Clemons 1.
UMSL -- Joshua McCoy 28, Darian Cartharn 19, Isiah Nunn 17, Michael Weber 10, Kevin Dwyer 7, Justin Jones 4, Charlie Woods 2.