TROY, N.Y. -- MCLA senior guard Noah Yearsley converted a conventional three-point play with 11 seconds remaining to help rally the Trailblazer men's basketball team past Russell Sage, 66-65, Tuesday in non-conference play.
Yearsley's play completed the comeback for MCLA as they trailed by nine points with five minutes remaining.
With 5:14 left to play Sage (5-2 overall) took a 61-52 advantage after Stuart Phair made a pair of FT's. From that point, it was all MCLA. After a couple of empty possessions on both sides, MCLA's Hayden Bird continued his hot shooting from deep as he buried a three pointer to start the comeback.
Sage answered with a bucket from Tyler Mitchell to increase the margin back to 63-55, but MCLA would outscore the Gators 11-2 over the final three minutes. Yearsley began the spurt with two FT's and then after a steal from Reece Racette, Yearsley's layup cut it to 63-59 with under two minutes to play.
The Gators' Charles David scored on a putback to stem the momentum, however MCLA kept fighting. A Yearsley pull up jumper cut it to four and after another Gator turnover and a missed FT, MCLA's Bright Afful was fouled. He converted both to pull MCLA within two at 65-63 with 51 ticks remaining.
MCLA got a defensive stop and after a timeout got the ball back in Yearsley's hands. The senior drive down the lane where he laid it in and drew the foul. With the now tied at 65-65, Yearsley converted the free throw with 11 seconds left to give MCLA the lead, 66-65.
Sage still had a chance out of a timeout. The hosts almost turned it over at midcourt before a held ball call bailed them out. Then on the ensuing inbounds play, they did turn it over giving the ball back to MCLA. Forced to foul, MCLA's Bird was fouled with five seconds left to play. He missed the free throw, and Sage had a desparation attempt that rimmed out giving MCLA the comeback victory.
Drury graduate Bird led MCLA with 21 points and continued his great start shooting drilling six more three pointers. He leads the nation in made 3-pointers. Taconic's Quentin Gittens added 14 points and 8 rebounds while Yearsley shrugged off a poor shooting night to end with 14 points and the late game heroics. MCLA overcame 14 turnovers and a 35% shooting night in the win.
MCLA (3-5) will resume play on Thursday night when it hosts NVU-Lyndon at 6 p.m.
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