Hutchinson, KS---The Northwest Florida men's basketball team, in the words of it's head coach Steve Forbes, is beginning to resemble the great thoroughbred "Seabiscuit".
The coach is talking about how his team, like the great race horse, just waits for it's competition to get ahead before gearing up and rallying strong. The Raiders did just that Tuesday night, rallying from down 16 points with just 2:36 and coming back to beat New Mexico in overtime 88-87.
The Raiders started sluggishly, falling behind 7-0 to start the game. A 22-5 run had them even further behind at the half, 40-25.
They trailed at one point of the second half by 18, only to begin a rally with about 2:36 to go. Chris Jones hitting one three point shot after another, while New Mexico continued to miss shots and turn the ball over.
Eventually Jones hit back to back three pointers and a jumper in the lane with less than a minute to go to force a 75-75 tie. New Mexico unable to win it at the buzzer and they went to overtime.
Jones continued to shine in the extra period, leading the way to a 6 point lead with a minute to go. New Mexico rallied back and after the Raiders missed a shot with about 10 seconds to play, New Mexico had the chance to win it but could not get off a good shot, and the comeback was complete.
Jones led his team with 27 points, Elgin Cook had 23. Now 28-3 the Raiders move on to face Iowa Western Thursday in the national quarterfinals.
The attached video shows the following:
Raiders, in red, with a miserable start in this one, as they watch Thunderbirds hit one three pointer after another, amidst a 22-5 run, Northwest finding itself down 42-25 at the half.
It seemed more of the same in the second half, the Raiders unable to pull much closer, and in fact they trailed by 16 with two and a half to go, that's when All-American Chris Jones absolutely refuses to go down. One three pointer gets them within 9 with 2 minutes to play.
Raiders get it to within 8 with just under a minute to go, Jones again, a 28 footer falls.
And on the ensuing in bounds they force the turnover, Jones gets the loose ball fires up the three and gets the bounce, suddenly it's a two point game.
Then after a tie up and the possession arrow gives the ball back to Northwest, Jones again, jumper falls, game's tied at 75. New Mexico misses a shot to win it, they go to overtime.
There Jones continues to dominate, the layup here helping them build a 6 point lead. New Mexico did get it back to within one, but can't get off the shot at the buzzer, Raiders comeback complete, an 88-87 win, Jones with 27, they're into the quarters Thursday against Iowa Western.