Derr's Shot Sends Cowboys To ASC Final
"It wasn't the prettiest game, but I thought both teams competed hard all game," said HSU head coach Craig Carse. "That is two very good basketball teams and we were fortunate to come out on top."
Back-to-back baskets in the lane by Andy Spears gave HSU its biggest lead of the game at 19-14 with 7:18 to play in the first half. UTD finished the first half on a 15-6 run and took a 33-29 lead at halftime. Carter Nash's free throws at the 18:41 mark gave UTD its biggest lead of the game at 37-31.
The Cowboys went on a quick 8-2 run to tie the game at 39 and it was a tight game the rest of the way with neither team leading by more than four points.
HSU led 50-49 when John Derr buried the first of his three big 3-pointers down the stretch to make it 53-49, Scott Hurley answered with a 3-pointer from the corner for UTD and Derr came right back with another triple to give HSU a 56-52 lead with 4:58 to play.
The game was tied at 58 when Matt Addison buried a 3-pointer with 2:41 to play and Kyle Schleigh answered the 3-pointer for UTD. After HSU went scoreless, UTD came down and Carter Nash threw up a prayer that was answered as the shot clock buzzer went off to give UTD a 63-61 lead with 1:14 to play.
Derr then came off a couple of screens stepped up and buried the biggest shot of his Cowboy career. The 3-pointer was the 189th of Derr's career which tied him with Brad Waters for the career lead at HSU.
"I knew as soon as it left my hand it was in," said Derr. "It feels good to hit a big shot like that and it feels good to advance and gives us a chance to become the first team in HSU history to win an ASC title."
The game was not over as the Cowboys would need three more stops. HSU got the first one when Nash missed a contested 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer. Matt Addison was fouled and the 88 percent free-throw shooter missed the front end of a one-and-one.
UTD came down and Chris Barnes missed a shot that George Nelson contested and it went out of bounds with 1.5 seconds to UTD. Kyle Schleigh got a shot in the corner but it was long and the Cowboys earned their second-ever trip to the ASC Final. HSU lost its only appearance in 2007 at Mississippi College.
Addison led the Cowboys with 20 points, Derr had 13 points and Spears added 12 for HSU. Schleigh had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Nash had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Barnes had 10 points.
The Cowboys are now 21-6 on the season and will look for their first American Southwest Conference title on Sunday against McMurry, who beat Mary Hardin-Baylor, 77-69. Texas-Dallas is 22-5 and will wait on the NCAA Selections on Monday to see if its season continues.
--- HSU ---