By Matthew D. Stokes
BerryVikings.com Staff Writer
ROME, Ga. – Michael Schulte scored a career-high 26 points as Berry outlasted visiting LaGrange in double overtime, 105-95, in a Saturday afternoon men's basketball game at the Cage Center.
The win was the third in the last four games for the Vikings, and their third straight at home.
A back-and-forth first half ended with Berry up by just a basket at 37-35. Schulte led all first half scorers with 12 points.
The second half action was just as tight. Berry (3-18) found itself up by eight points with less than four minutes in regulation, but LaGrange (9-13) came back to get within a bucket late in regulation. In what looked to seal the game for Berry, Jonathan Abrams blocked a shot in the paint, recovered the ball and was then fouled, which sent him to the foul line with less than ten seconds remaining.
But Abrams missed both free throws, and LaGrange made a mad dash down the court. After several missed shots near the basket, Joey Anderkavich scored on a tip-in as the buzzer expired, knotting the game up 77-77 as a chorus of boos rose up from the Berry fans.
"Whether it went in or not after the buzzer I don't know," said Berry head coach Jeff Haarlow of the controversy surrounding the game-tying basket.
In the first five-minute overtime period, Berry again raced out to a seven-point before LaGrange quickly recovered with a 7-0 run, tying the game at 87-87. The two teams exchanged baskets in the final minute, and LaGrange looked to be in position to win the game after Berry's Lake Graham was called for a double-dribble with 26.4 seconds on the clock. However, LaGrange was unable to muster any points as Aaron Power airballed a three-point attempt with less than five seconds to go.
"When you haven't won a bunch, it seems like you always find ways to (let the lead slip away)," Haarlow said. "LaGrange kept competing. Obviously we have to get better cleaning up end-of-game situations."
In the second overtime, personal fouls began to catch up to both teams as three players fouled out. In the end, foul shots were crucial, as Berry made nine to LaGrange's zero in the final five minutes.
"To bounce back after that tip-in and win in double overtime is a huge tribute to the character we have," Haarlow said. "In the second overtime, I think ultimately it gets down to will, and we had a little bit more today."
For Berry Jonathan Abrams scored 25 points while Mac Whalen tacked on 24. Also scoring in twin digits for Berry was Lake Graham, who tallied 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Nasser Almulla was the other player to score in double figures for Berry with 10.
Four LaGrange players finished with double digit points, led by Aaron Power with 22. Joey Anderkavich posted 18 points to go with 10 rebounds; Kyron Anderson scored 16 points; and Denzel Robinson had 15 points.
Berry returns to play on Tuesday against Birmingham-Southern College at the Cage Center at 7 p.m.
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