The storyline of the consolation game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic looked all the world to be Dexter Kernich-Drew. But WSU had two near-disasters in the final 30 ticks. And they couldn't overcome a third.
WSU held a 54-52 lead but Texas A&M's Elston Turner, who had hit only one bucket all night to that point, drilled a deep three from the top of the key. D.J. Shelton, who had just gone 1-for-2 from the line, had pretty good defense on Turner but wasn't quite quick enough to get the block.
After a sloppy first half by both teams, Texas A&M went on an 11-0 run early in the second half and the Cougs were in danger of letting the game slip away right then. Kernich-Drew broke the streak and scored the next five points to tie the game.
Later, he drilled a three to match the Cougs' largest lead of the night (six). By the time he was done Kernich-Drew had 16 points, a career high on 6-for-10 shooting.
You want defense? A sure-fire, fast break deuce for A&M to tie the game was somehow swatted away by a high-flyin', come-from-behind Kernich-Drew.
Fellow Aussie Brock Motum was his usual steady self despite plenty of double-teams. He scored 15 points. But with Motum drawing so much attention from the A&M defense, the Cougs needed someone to take up the scoring slack. And that guy was Kernich-Drew.
A&M stayed within shouting distance by nailing a three each time the Cougs threatened to build their lead. And with 2:34 left, A&M actually took the lead 51-50.
Circling around the arc looking to pass, Kernich-Drew found some space and drilled a trey from the top of the arc, his fourth of the night. But that's when it all began to fall apart.
After missed opportunities by both teams, WSU was up 53-52 with the shot clock turned off. A careless pass gave A&M a golden opportunity and a wide open shot to take the lead. They missed. Another near steal followed (though replays showed that came about because of a foul on Motum that wasn't called.)
Still, WSU had a fast break and the lead. But instead of holding the ball, Motum got it to Shelton and before he could dunk it, he was fouled. He calmly drilled the first but rattled out the second, setting up the late A&M trey for the win.
Dagger trey overshadows Kernich-Drew's night
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