by Andrew Kim

A late turn of events that extended into overtime resulted in a breakthrough win for the Pioneers Men’s Basketball team against the visiting Embry Riddle University Eagles, 77-72. The win was the ninth of the season and the fifth Cal Pac conference game victory for the Pioneers, following their one point loss against Benedictine University.

At the start of the game, the Eagles fired up with an early lead while the Pioneers trailed behind. The early stages of the first quarter for the Pioneers were characterized with strong performances defensively, but not offensively as the Eagles maintained the lead. A three-pointer made by senior Jayson Marquez, midway into the game, gave the Pioneers the comeback needed to narrow their deficit from the Eagles. The late stage of the first quarter featured stellar performances by junior Landre Powell, who made a two-point shot followed by a successful free throw, and senior Rae Hubbard, who powered a deep three-pointer, both of whom powered PUC into the lead by a single point. Trading the lead back-and-forth in the final minutes, the Pioneers fell short to the Eagles, 28-30.

The Eagles opened the second half in a similar
fashion to the first half by pulling into an early lead, with the Pioneers trailing by 10 points. Five minutes into the quarter, the Pioneers, coming out from a brief meeting that included being yelled at
from head coach Greg Vahn for extra motivation, responded back with determination. Three threepointers, two made by Jayson Marquez and the line one made by Brandon Franklin, along with a twopointer from senior Devon Pinnock, were a series of shots made in the following minutes to boost the Pioneers into a narrow lead. Only for the Eagles to regain their advantage. Trailing by two points with nine seconds left in the game, Devon Pinnock stole the ball from the Eagles and assisted it to junior Joseph Scott, who nailed a two-pointer to tie the game. With both teams unable to gain one final advantage over the other in the final seconds, the Pioneers and Eagles tied 61-61, and the game went into overtime for five minutes.

The Eagles were quick to reassume the lead and hold onto their advantage for the majority of overtime. The Pioneers were able to narrow their margin, thanks to two three-pointers from Rae Hubbard and two successful free shots from Brandon Franklin. A two-pointer made by Jayson Marquez powered the Pioneers back into the lead, and a series of successful free shots from Marquez and Brandon Franklin were enough to keep the
Pioneers ahead and to win against the Eagles, 77-72.
With their victory, the Pioneers moved into thirdplace
in the Cal Pac standings.

Next up for the Pioneers will be an away game at Riverside, CA, where they will compete against La Sierra University’s Golden Eagles on February 1, at 7:30 p.m.

For more information or updates visit the PUC
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