LYNCHBURG, Va.- Trailing by two points with just over three seconds remaining in regulation, the Randolph men's basketball team needed a miracle. With the clock winding down, Reid Jacoby (Richmond, Va./Benedictine) gave the WildCats what they needed as he drained a three-point shot at the buzzer to give Randolph a thrilling 60-59 victory over Southern Virginia on Saturday afternoon at the RAD Center.
The win snaps Randolph's eight-game winless streak to put them at 1-8. The Knights even their record at 5-5.
Jacoby led all scorers with a season-high 19 points in 33 minutes. He added five rebounds and five assists and did not turn the ball over.
Jacoby's basket capped a big comeback for the 'Cats who trailed by double-digits early in the second half. Randolph would outscore the Knights 34-23 in the second frame.
"Reid is the toughest kid I have coached, played with and been around," said head coach Pete Hamilton afterwards. "He gets guys in the right spot, passes confidence on and a sense of urgency to the other guys. We need him on the court. This game shows that we are definitely better with him."
The two teams played evenly for most of the first half. Randolph led 19-16 with 9:30 remaining until halftime. It would be nearly four minutes until the WildCats would score again but Southern Virginia could only muster four free throws to lead 20-19 at 6:34. A jumper from Sammy Hooper (Richmond, Va./Midlothian) at 5:51 put the 'Cats ahead 21-20 and a trey from Jacoby upped the advantage to 24-20 with 5:20 to play in the half.
The Knights went into the locker room on 14-2 run to take a 36-26 lead at the break. Randolph was held without a basket for the last five minutes with the only points coming on a pair of free throws from Jacoby at the 1:27 mark.
It did not get any better for the WildCats as the Knights picked up where they left off and scored on two layups to make it 40-26 less than a minute into the second half. Alec Johnson's three-point shot increased the SVU advantage to 45-28 at 17:13 and the Knights looked to run away with the game.
The WildCats would not let that happen as they mounted a 15-2 run to claw their way back and get to within four points, 47-43, with just under 12 minutes remaining in the game. The Knights were able to bring their lead back to eight but the 'Cats answered with a 6-0 spurt to make it a one-possession contest, 51-49, at 5:34.
The score stood at 56-51 SVU with a little under three minutes to go. A 6-1 run by the 'Cats tied the game at 57-57 with 31 ticks left on the clock following a three from Hooper. The Knights converted a layup with four seconds left to go up 59-57. 3.2 seconds remained on the game clock and the WildCats had time for a final shot. Hooper inbounded the ball to Jacoby who raced down the left side of the court and heaved the ball with a defender in front of him from NBA three-point distance and nailed the game-winner as the buzzer sounded and the WildCats erupted in celebration.
Randolph won despite shooting almost 33% from the floor which was just ahead of Southern Virginia. The WildCats made seven three-pointers on the day to just three from the Knights. SVU controlled the glass 47-42.
Hooper finished with 10 points and four rebounds. Colton Lee (Raleigh, N.C./North Raleigh Christian Acad.) added eight points. Chase VanHorn (Forest, Va./Jefferson Forest) finished with seven points. Andy Toe (Manassas, Va./Stonewall Jackson) had five points and six rebounds.
"We've had some games that we have dropped that feel like we really played well that day and maybe we could have gotten a different outcome or a couple of breaks," noted Hamilton. "The win-loss column doesn't have points like that. This one went in our favor. We deserved what we got today. If we can take that attitude and move forward, I think it should help us."
The WildCats will look to add another win when they host William Peace on Monday. Game time will be at 5:00 p.m.