IUP men lose in NCAA tournament in triple overtime
EAST STROUDSBURG — IUP’s “Iron 7” didn’t run out of gas against a deeper West Liberty team. The Crimson Hawks just ran out of time.
The IUP men’s basketball team took West Liberty to a third overtime and nearly made up a seven-point deficit in the final two minutes of the third OT, but the Crimson Hawks lost, 86-85, in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region basketball tournament Sunday at Koehler Field House.
West Liberty ended IUP’s season for the third time in the past four years.
“Congratulations to West Liberty. They outlasted us,” IUP coach Joe Lombardi said.
IUP, using a short rotation that Lombardi called his “Iron 7” against West Liberty’s nine-man rotation that likes to play an up-tempo, high-scoring game, didn’t run out of gas. The Crimson Hawks just ran out of time.
The game ended when IUP redshirt freshman Manny Yarde missed the second of two free throws that would have tied the game with .08 seconds left and then missed a shot after getting the offensive rebound as time expired.
“We were playing seven guys,” Lombardi said, “and one of them, Marcel Souberbielle, hadn’t practiced for two weeks before we got here. How he ever played 43 minutes and did what he did, I’ll never know, other than there are guys here with big hearts. …. The guys could have let go of the rope at any time. A number of times their backs were against the wall, and they could have let go, but they never did.”
Souberbielle, who suffered a hip flexor injury 12 days ago, was questionable entering Saturday’s first-round victory over West Chester. He played 30 minutes in that game and outdid himself Sunday by playing 43. He scored a game-high 27 points and tied for the game high with 10 rebounds.
Souberbielle and Mathis Keita, IUP’s lone seniors, didn’t want their careers to end. Keita played 52 of a possible 55 minutes and scored 19 points, and point guard Devante Chance played 54. Brandon Norfleet scored 18 before fouling out midway through the second overtime.
West Liberty (28-3) advanced to play East Stroudsburg on Tuesday for a fourth straight berth in the Elite Eight, the Division II version of Division I’s Final Four, and IUP’s season ended at 24-5 after losing to West Liberty for a third straight time in regional play.