Dayton Thurgood Marshall completes stunning fourth quarter comeback


Thurgood Marshall rallied from a 12-point fourth quarter deficit to win Friday. (Photo by Nick Falzerano)

It might not be the greatest comeback in state tournament history, but it’s close. Down 12 in the fourth quarter, Dayton Thurgood Marshall rallied to force overtime and then beat Logan Elm 62-53 in a Division II state semifinal Friday at the Schottenstein Center. LE needed one basket in the fourth quarter and didn’t get it.

COLUMBUS – One basket. That’s all Logan Elm needed to score in the fourth quarter. Instead Dayton Thurgood Marshall scored six, including an overtime-forcing 3-pointer from Shawn Robinson with five seconds left, as the Cougars capped an improbable comeback in the Division II state semifinals Friday with a stunning 62-53 win before 12,415 at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center.

Marshall will face Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in the D-II state final at 5:15 p.m. Saturday.

“I’ve got to praise God,” Marshall head coach John Ralph said. “It is because of him that these young men came in to my life and that we were able to come back from almost insurmountable odds against one of the best teams in the state of Ohio. We were able to overcome.”

Logan Elm led 44-32 with 7:36 left, but managed just six free throws in the fourth quarter. By the time the Braves made their first field goal since the third quarter there was 1:21 left in overtime and Marshall was ahead 56-51. Free throws – six to be exact – in the final 1:19 catapulted Marshall into Saturday’s state final. Defense – the full court kind – catapulted the Cougars into overtime.

“It was not looking good (when we were down 12),” Ralph said. “At the time they were hitting shots, they were getting rebounds and they were making all the big plays and we weren’t. We made some adjustments and it worked out. We were able to get at least a piece of the game we like to play in gear.”

“The fourth quarter they turned up the heat,” LE head coach Doug Stiverson said. “They have some guys that can get to the basketball and we had some turnovers that obviously hurt us. I also think a couple loose balls or a rebound here and there and we still get a win today.”

After a back and forth first half which ended in a 22-22 deadlock, LE caught fire in the third quarter. Down 27-24, the Braves closed the stanza with an 18-5 run that ended with a Logan Hauserman bucket at the buzzer. It was the last field goal the Braves would score for more than 10 minutes. Two Brandon Amann free throws to start the fourth increased the LE advantage to 44-32.

Then momentum changed uniforms.

“When they hit the point to put us down 12, my head went down,” Marshall junior point guard Juwan Staten said. “But then I had to pick my head up and say to myself that the game isn’t over until there’s a zero on the clock.”

Robinson kick-started the Cougars defensive pressure by flipping the switch. His teammates followed suit, ratcheting up the intensity. The result? An 11-0 run that drew Marshall to within 44-43 with 3:29 to go. The Cougars had chances to tie and take the lead as LE continued to struggle offensively, but when Hauserman hit one of two free throws with 32 seconds left it looked like the Braves would hold on. That’s when Robinson responded again.

Corralling the long rebound on a missed shot, Robinson drained a 3 with 5.8 seconds left to tie it at 48-48. He stood there for five more seconds with his hand still over his head as he was mobbed by teammates. LE’s Adam Blake missed the potential game-winner as time expired.

Stiverson was asked why LE didn’t foul on Marshall’s last shot.

“When they got the ball there was quite a bit of time left on the clock,” Stiverson said. “They did miss a shot and there was a loose rebound that kind of just bounced out to him to make it. (Fouling) is something you think about but he hit it from deep so you have to give him credit.”

Said Robinson: “When the ball came to me I knew it had to go in and I had to shoot it.”

In the overtime Staten took over. The University of Dayton recruit hit six of six free throws and assisted on two of the Cougars three baskets. Marshall scored the first four points in OT and LE never got the deficit below three again.

The heroes were numerous for Marshall. Staten ended with 24 points, eight rebounds, four assists and just two turnovers in 33 minutes. He was 12-of-12 from the foul line. Robinson, who played all 36 minutes, had 15 points, six steals, five assists and four rebounds. DeAngelo Gates, just one of two seniors on the Marshall roster, logged 10 points, 15 rebounds and two steals.

The Cougars shot 34.5-percent from the floor (20-of-58) and were a miserable 5-of-27 from 3-point range (18.5-percent). They hit 17-of-23 free throws.

Marshall’s win is even more remarkable when you consider that their second leading scorer – Greg Gainey (18 ppg) – was limited to one shot in four minutes of action due to a reoccurring leg injury.

LE was led by senior Tim Congrove who closed out an outstanding career with 18 points. A 1,000-point scorer, Congrove also hit three 3s to raise his career total to 229. Amann, another 1,000-point scorer and senior, had 17 points and nine rebounds. Hauserman ended with 13 points.

The Braves hit just 4-of-19 attempts from 3 and were 18-of-48 (37.5-percent) from the floor. They had 15 turnovers, including 10 in the second half. Robinson accounted for five.

“I saw fear, so I took advantage of it,” Robinson said. “They started to buckle. I knew if others saw me trying to get steals then they’d follow my lead.”

Said Staten: “Once I saw him pick it up, I knew we were going to do good. When he picks it up defensively it makes us all pick it up. If you’ve got one guy out there playing hard it doesn’t look right if the other four aren’t.

“We all knew we had to pick it up.”

The Cougars picked up the stunning victory as a result.

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