OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Senior Danzel Wright totaled 30 points in his Stevenson University debut, while junior Johnny Rhodes recorded 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Mustangs outlasted Elizabethtown 90-87 in overtime in non-conference men's basketball Wednesday night at Owings Mills Gymnasium. The game marked the season opener for both schools.
Stevenson won its season opener for the first time since 2014-15. It also marked the first overtime game and overtime win for the Mustangs since downing Messiah 87-81 on February 7, 2015.
Wright finished 11-21 from the floor, including 5-11 behind the arc, to lead four Mustangs in double figures. Rhodes was 8-13 from the floor and also had three steals, while junior Jaylin Johnson notched 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Junior Marcus Dentley added 11 points and five rebounds.
The Blue Jays were led by Bryce Greene's 23 points. Elizabethtown had five players finish in double figures, with Connor Moffatt registering 10 points and 17 rebounds.
The two teams were knotted 78-78 in overtime when a 7-0 run capped by a Wright three-pointer put the Mustangs up 85-78 with 1:56 remaining. A Dentley basket broke the deadlock, then on the next Blue Jay possession a steal and layup by Rhodes put the hosts up four at the 2:37 mark.
Stevenson was up 89-82 with 32 seconds to go following a Dentley basket. On the other end, a Matt Thomas layup cut the lead to five, then back-to-back fouls (Elizabethtown had only committed five fouls to that point) put Rhodes on the line. Rhodes missed the front end of the 1-and-1, and a three by Brandon Barry sliced the lead to two, 89-87, with nine ticks on the clock.
Elizabethtown fouled Johnson, who made the first but missed the second at the line. The guests rebounded, but an attempt to send the game to a second extra session by Greene was off the mark.
A Wright three with 3:44 left in regulation put the Mustangs up 73-66, but the Blue Jays closed the second half on a 9-2 run to force overtime. A layup by Moffatt with 25 seconds to go forged the game's 10th tie. Dentley got a wide-open look at a three from the right corner with time winding down but his shot was long and the game headed to overtime.
The Blue Jays made their first six shots of the game and eventually opened up a nine-point lead, 27-18, with 10:29 to go in the first half following a Berry trifecta. A 16-5 run over the next six-plus minutes capped by a basket by Rhodes gave the Mustangs their first lead since the game's opening minutes, 34-32. A three by freshman Jonathan Mustamu extended the lead to five 3:29 before intermission, but six straight Elizabethtown points put the visitors back on top with 2:15 left.
The two teams traded the lead four times in the final 1:08. A Wright three with eight seconds on the clock put Stevenson up 44-43, but a Michael Pastore triple as time expired, E-town's ninth of the half, gave it a 46-44 lead at intermission.
Stevenson shot 42% for the game, including 6-9 in overtime, while the Blue Jays shot 40.2% for the contest and 43.3% from three. After connecting of 9-13 three-point attempts (69%) in the first half, the guests were just 4-17 from long range the rest of the game. The Mustangs were 12-19 from the free throw line, while E-town was 8-13, and the guests held a 53-50 rebounding advantage.
Stevenson is back in action Friday afternoon when it travels to the Greg Richards Tipoff at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa. The Mustangs face Washington & Jefferson in a 3:00 contest.