Wingate, N.C. - Josh Roper tied the Brevard College single-game scoring record on his game-winning free throw with six seconds remaining and Jonathan Whitson had his second straight double-double as well as breaking the Brevard record for consecutive free throws made in a game as the Tornados survived a late charge by the Bulldogs in leaving Cuddy Arena, 88-87.
The Tornados (11-5, 4-2 SAC) connected on 51.7 percent (30-58) of their field goal attempts and 92.3 percent (24-26) of their free throw attempts in the game, led by Roper with 33 points on 13-20 shooting. The junior guard from Charlotte, N.C. added five assists, three steals and three rebounds to his totals on the night in 34 minutes, with none more important than his free throw with six seconds left on the clock.
Whitson added 30 points and 10 rebounds in 38 minutes play, connecting on his first 14 free throw attempts, breaking Wil Gibbs’ record of 10 straight made on February 4th against Virginia Intermont, while blocking two shots. Shane Galloway added eight points and six rebounds, while Drew Schauss added seven and a steal in their fourth South Atlantic Conference win of the season.
Larry Staley led Wingate (10-6, 3-2 SAC) with 20 points and five steals as five Bulldog players scored double figures for the home team in the game. Jaime Vaughn added 18 points and Paidrick Matilus and Ethan Kincaid each had 13 points as Wingate came back from a 10-point halftime deficit in tying the game up late. Quan Alexander had 12 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes for the Bulldogs in the loss.
The Bulldogs and the Tornados were in a deadlock through the first ten minutes as the teams tied seven times in the first ten minutes. Brevard opened the game with a 9-4 lead with Whitson recording five of Brevard’s first nine points. The Bulldogs would respond with five straight points to tie it up before Brevard would go on another 6-0 run to put the score at 15-9 with 16:03 on the clock.
Wingate would come back to tie the game up at 20 on Ethan Kincaid’s three-pointer from the right elbow before Roper, coming back into the game, scored the Tornados next six points on three consecutive trips down the court on a layup and a pair of jumpers to put the score at 26-24 Brevard with 9:26 on the clock. Wingate would rally to take the lead at the 5:18 mark as Paidrick Matilus converted the second of a pair of free throw to put the score at 33-32. Roper would come back down the court and connect on back-to-back three-pointers to put the Tornados up 38-33 and Drew Schauss would drive up the right baseline for a layup to give Brevard a 40-36 lead with 3:27 remaining. The Tornados would extend the lead to 12 points at 48-36 as Whitson converted on four straight free throws following a technical foul called on the Wingate bench before a jumper by Vaughn sent the game into the locker room with the Tornados on top, 48-38.
Brevard was a perfect 12-12 from the free throw line in the first half led by Whitson as the senior forward had 19 points and six rebounds at the half. The Tornados held the 21-15 rebound advantage at the half, while the Bulldogs kept the game close, connecting on 47.2 percent (17-36) of their field goal attempts in the first 20 minutes, led by Kincaid’s 11 points on five of seven shooting.
The Tornados built a 15-point lead to start the second half, going up 55-40 on Roper’s layup at the 18:17 mark, but Wingate rallied again to bring the game back within single digits with 13:42 on the clock on Alexander’s jumper from the corner to put the score at 59-50. The Bulldogs would bring the game all the way back to within two points on Staley’s three-pointer at the 11:01 mark, but Roper came out of Brevard timeout by stripping Kincaid and going in for the fast break dunk to end the Bulldogs run.
The game was set up for a wild finish as the Tornados took a late 87-80 lead on a Roper made jumper in the right corner, but the Bulldogs rallied again as Tracy Parks drove in for a layup and Matilus made a jumper, before the freshman guard Matilus received the pass at the top of the key from Jamie Vaughn, connecting on a three-pointer to tie the game at 87 with 24 seconds left.
Following a Brevard timeout, Roper came out and was fouled by Vaughn. The junior guard from Charlotte, N.C. connected on his first free throw, giving him 33 points in the game, tying Whitson’s record set last year on February 9th against North Greenville University in Boshamer Gymnasium. Roper missed the second free throw and Coach Brian Good called a timeout to give the Bulldogs a chance to go for the win, but Matilus’ attempt was partially blocked by Darin Dellinger and in the scuffle for the ball under the rim, time ran out as the Tornados left Cuddy Arena with the win, 88-87.
The Tornados finish their five-game road trip on Monday as Brevard travels to Belk Arena in Due West, S.C. to take on Erskine College in a non-conference matchup. Tipoff between the Tornados and Flying Fleet is set for 7 p.m.