The Gorlok’s men’s basketball season ended by the pinging sound of the ref’s whistle. The sound interrupted during Ahmad Smith’s drive down the court with seconds left in the game and his team down by one point.
A Webster University foul turned the ball over to Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU), which then sealed IWU’s 71-70 win on March 7 in the NCAA Division III tournament. The game was the Gorlok’s chance to pull off a comeback win in the first round of the tournament.
Playing on IWU’s home court, the Gorlok’s led the game for eight minutes before IWU took the lead and pulled out to as much as an 18-point lead before the half.
It would not be until about ten and a half minutes into the second half that Webster took the lead again. Smith, a junior guard, led a comeback. The Gorlok’s went on a 25-14 run to make it a 54-52 game.
Then Smith converted the 3-point shot, taking over the lead for the first time in the second half.
Webster Sophomore center Kevin Miller had nine points in the contest before fouling out in the second half. That left the bulk of the comeback effort to fall on the shoulders of Smith and Webster freshman forward Hunter Ward.
With 30 seconds left in the game, Smith retrieved the lead from IWU. After drawing a foul, Smith went to the free-throw line and made two shots, making it a 70-69 Gorlok game.
But then, a foul on Webster freshman guard Adam Etter would send IWU to the line. After converting two free throws, the Gorloks were down by one with three seconds left. Smith sprinted down the court before the whistle blew.
Webster senior center Jarrod Huskey was called for a foul, which meant Webster had to turn the ball over to IWU. With three seconds left, IWU ran down the clock and the last of Webster’s season.