Four quarters and two overtimes had yet to settle on a winner between Urbana and Tippecanoe on Tuesday night. Then the ball started sticking to Ben Stucke’s hands and Tippecanoe finally gained control.
With Tipp clinging to a two-point lead late in the third overtime, Stucke blocked a shot and grabbed the loose ball. Then he got his hands in the way of Urbana’s next two attempts to tie the score and helped clinch a 66-60 victory in a Central Buckeye Conference crossover game.
After Urbana missed another chance to tie with 28 seconds left, Michael Landwehr grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Landwehr, a 65-percent free-throw shooter, made two from the line with 27 seconds left and Tipp (15-4) had a four-point lead. Landwehr scored 11 points and Stucke had 10.
Tristan Singer tried to score quickly for the Hillclimbers (13-5), but the ball was stripped away near the basket and Urbana had failed to score on its fourth straight possession in the final two minutes.
“Right now all that’s running through my head is all of the offensive possessions we had in the fourth quarter and all the overtimes that we probably didn’t get the shot we wanted,” Urbana coach Jeremy Dixon said. “We just didn’t execute, and we had several chances to win it.”
Until the back-and-forth overtimes, the game was marked by runs. Tipp took a 13-8 lead after one with a 9-4 run. Then Urbana surged to the lead with a 14-5 run before Tipp closed the first half 11-0 for a 29-22 lead. In the third, it was Urbana 11-5 and then 7-0 led by key baskets from Joe Wright (15 points) to lead 42-40.
“I didn’t think we were very good defensively,” Dixon said. “We had spurts where we were good, but when we needed a big stop we didn’t get it enough times.”
Urbana forced overtime when Singer, who scored a game-high 16 points, broke out of a scramble for a layup with 37 seconds left. Tipp held the ball for final shots in regulation and the first two overtimes, but the Hillclimbers forced difficult shots.
Tipp coach Marcus Bixler liked the job his team did to limit Singer’s scoring opportunities near the basket.
“I thought the Singer kid was worn out,” Bixler said. “We did a really good job on him all night. He’s a kid who likes to impose his will, and our ability to keep him out of the paint in overtime was very good.”