BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – With 1.3 seconds remaining on the clock, freshman Aaron Larson (Tolono, Ill.) had the opportunity to give ONU the go-ahead lead after drawing a foul under the Tiger’s basket. Following a miss on his first attempt, Larson swished the second and went on to intercept the full court attempt made by the Titans, giving the Tigers a 51-50 home win on Wednesday night. The win was Olivet’s second straight and third in four games, bringing their overall and league record to .500.
From the get-go, ONU (10-10, 8-8) quickly built a lead, making a three-pointer on their first possession and taking a five-point with 15:46 lead. However, the Tigers would manage to give up their lead over the next five minutes, falling behind 14-13 by the 10:01 mark. Altogether ONU only managed three points from the 13:04 to 4:42 mark. Down five with four to play, ONU found a way to take the lead from the Titans (14-8, 11-5) after a three-point play by Torey Laferney (Flint, Mich.) with 31 seconds remaining, but failed to keep the lead going into the half.
In the first half, Olivet shot 10-for-26 from the field (38.5 percent), 2-for-12 from the three-point line (16.7 percent) and 2-for-3 from the free-throw line (66.7 percent). They were outrebounded by the Titans 16-14 and committed eight turnovers. IU-South Bend shot 38.1 percent from the field, 60 percent from the three-point line and 100 percent from the free-throw line. The Titans committed 10 first-half turnovers and had three offensive rebounds.
The second half started just the same as the first with a three-pointer and, by the 10:31 mark, the Tigers held a 10-point lead, their largest of the game. However, IU-South Bend immediately nipped away at it, a possession at a time, getting within three, 44-41, after a Riley Stichter lay-up with 5:54 to play. Olivet eventually built its lead up to five with 1:34 to play after two Larson free-throws, but over the next 50 seconds the Titans managed to tie the game on five Steven Heatherly points. ONU had the ball for the final possession and, with four seconds, attempted a shot, but it was blocked. The Tigers were given the ball under their own basket, and it was inbounded to Aaron Larson; and with 1.3 seconds, he was fouled and sent to the line. He made the second, and IU-South Bend failed to get a shot, giving the Tigers the win.
Freshman Aaron Larson led the Tigers with 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting from the field, 1-for-2 from three-point line and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line, making the go-ahead free-throw with 1.3 seconds to play. He also had four rebounds and two steals in 23 minutes.
Senior Ben Worner (Washington, Ill.) finished with 10 points on 2-for-10 shooting from the field, all except two coming from the three-point line and 4-for-6 from the free-throw line. He added six rebounds and four assists in 38 minutes.
Senior Jake Boyce (Lockport, Ill.) finished with eight points on 4-for-6 shooting from the field. He added five rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes.
Steven Heatherly led the Titans with 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field, 4-for-7 from the three-point line and 2-for-3 from the free-throw line. He added one rebound in 37 minutes. Chris Beam finished with 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting and 3-for-7 from the free-throw line in 30 minutes. Austin Fox added nine points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
Overall, the Tigers shot 19-for-51 from the field (37.3 percent), 4-for-20 from the three-point line (20 percent) and 9-for-14 from the free-throw line (64.3 percent). They outrebounded IU-South Bend 35-34, committed 16 turnovers and totaled 16 assists, with 11 offensive rebounds and 10 steals.
IU-South Bend shot 19-for-47 from the field (40.4 percent), 4-for-11 from beyond the arc (36.4 percent) and 8-for-16 from the free-throw line (50 percent). The Titans had nine assists, 16 turnovers, eight offensive rebounds and five steals.
Worner has made 172 career three-pointers, good for 10th all-time. Worner is four behind Stan Chismark for ninth (176).
ONU will be back in action on Saturday, January 19, on the road against conference opponent Purdue University-North Central (Ind.) at 7 p.m.