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Pfeiffer men advance to USA South East Division finals with OT win

The Pfeiffer University men’s basketball team outscored visiting Methodist 17-11 in overtime, taking an 81-81 win in the semifinals of the USA South East Division Tournament in Merner Gym on Wednesday afternoon.

The second-seeded Falcons (9-2) trailed a majority of the game and found themselves down 14 points (49-35) with 14:05 remaining. Pfeiffer started chipping away at the Methodist lead, going on a 19-6 run to trail by 55-54 following a three-pointer from senior D.J. Bradsher (Burlington, N.C.) with 6:51 to play.

Methodist then stretched the lead back to five points (59-54) after a pair of Garren Dearman free throws at the 5:39 mark.

A Tyjarek Simmons (Roanoke Rapids, N.C.) three-pointer tied the game at 59-59 and Pfeiffer would take a brief 61-59 lead with 4:05 to play.

Over the next several possessions, the teams would trade baskets, but Methodist again surged ahead, this time leading 68-63 with just 2:09 to play.

Pfeiffer trimmed the deficit to 68-66 when senior Sean Scott (Waldord, Md.) hit a layup in traffic and was fouled. He would convert the free throw with 1:43 left, and would hit another free throw with 55 seconds left to make it 68-67.

Methodist’s Dearmon would then hit a shot in the lane with 28 seconds left to again put the Monarchs up 70-67.

Pfeiffer’s Craig Sabb (Goose Creek, S.C.) then pulled up from the right wing and buried a three-pointer with 16 seconds to go to tie the game at 70-70. The Monarchs could not hit the regulation game winner, sending the game to overtime.

In the extra frame, the two teams would start by trading baskets and with the score tied at 79-79, Sabb hit a layup, giving Pfeiffer the lead for good. The Falcons would surge ahead by as many as five points in (84-79) and would never look back in taking the 87-81 win.

Scott led all Falcon scorers with 17 points while Sabb had a season-best 16 in the win. Freshman Dorian Miles (Greenville, S.C.) secured his third double-double of the season by scoring 12 points and hauling in 12 rebounds. Simmons was the other Falcon in double-digits, as he scored 11 points in the win.

Methodist got 20 points each from Dante Burden and Dearman in the loss.

Pfeiffer will next turn their attention to Sunday’s USA South East Division Championship game on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. when the Falcons square off with fourth-seeded Averett University in Merner Gym at 2:00 p.m. Averett advanced by downing top-seeded N.C. Wesleyan earlier on Wednesday afternoon.