OWINGS MILLS, Md. – A three-pointer by junior Jaylin Johnson with 28.7 seconds left gave Stevenson University its first lead since the game's opening moments and the Mustangs went on to post a 82-80 MAC Commonwealth men's basketball victory over Lebanon Valley College Wednesday night at Owings Mills Gymnasium.
Stevenson (5-3, 1-2 MAC Commonwealth) has had all three of its home games decided by one possession thus far in 2017-18.
The Mustangs trailed by as many as 16 in the first half and 66-56 with just under nine minutes remaining, but a 6-0 spurt capped by a basket by junior Marcus Dentley pulled Stevenson within four, 66-62, at the 5:35 mark. Lebanon Valley (6-2, 2-1 MAC Commonwealth) broke its nearly four-minute scoring drought with a Zach Tucker basket with 5:10 to go.
The two teams traded baskets until a 5-0 spurt by the hosts pulled them within one, 76-75, on a conventional three-point play by senior Danzel Wright with 1:20 left. On the other end, Andy Orr missed a layup and sophomore Kyle Wooldridge came down with the rebound.
With the shot clock winding down, Johnson buried a three from just to the right of the top of the key to give Stevenson its first lead since 2-0 with 28.7 seconds remaining. In a scramble for a loose ball on the LVC end, Wright fouled Sam Light with 22 seconds to go, but Light missed the front end of a 1-and-1, with Orr grabbing the rebound, but his putback attempt bounced out and Dentley grabbed the carom. He would get fouled and sink both free throws to make it a two-possession game with 21 ticks on the clock.
Light was fouled with 10 seconds to go and made a pair at the line to halve the lead, but on the inbounds, Stevenson got the ball to Wright, a 93% free throw shooter, and he was fouled and made both to all but seal the win. Tucker converted a layup as time expired to account for the final.
Stevenson's only other lead came 46 seconds into the game as Wright scored to make it 2-0 before Lebanon Valley scored the game's next 13 points and later extended its lead to 16, 24-8, with just over 10 minutes to go in the first half. A 15-2 Mustang run capped by a three by Wooldridge pulled the Mustangs within three, 26-23, at the 7:36 mark. Stevenson cut the lead to one four times without tying or taking the lead before a Johnson three 44 seconds before intermission tied the game 38-38, which was the halftime score.
LVC opened the second half on a 14-3 run to go up 11, 52-41, with just under 16 minutes to play. Five straight points by Stevenson, including a Wright three, got the margin down to six at the 14:32 mark, and from there, the lead fluctuated between six and eight for the next five minutes.
Wright finished with 24 points, 19 of them coming in the second half, while Johnson added 21 points and nine rebounds. Dentley had 11 of his 15 points in the first half and also grabbed five rebounds, while junior Korey Hayman, Jr. was 4-5 from the floor and finished with nine points. Junior Johnny Rhodes handed out five assists.
The Dutchmen were led by Orr's 24 points and Light's 22.
Stevenson took eight more trips to the free throw line and made 19-of-20 at the charity stripe, its best showing since going 16-16 in a loss at Brooklyn on January 5, 2009, while the Dutchmen were 9-12 at the line. Lebanon Valley shot 54.5% over the final 20 minutes and 50.7% for the game, but were 3-13 behind the arc, while the Mustangs knocked down nine of their 24 three-point attempts. Both teams grabbed 31 rebounds.
Stevenson closes out pre-exam play on Saturday when it travels to Arcadia for a 3:00 MAC Commonwealth contest.