Belmont Abbey senior guard Ray Chen swished three free throws with 0.5 left after he was fouled attempting a three pointer to cap a wild second half and lift the Crusaders over the visiting Pfeiffer Falcons 70-68 this evening inside the Wheeler Center. Belmont Abbey snaps a three game losing streak as it improves to 7-14 overall and 4-10 in Conference Carolinas, while the Falcons drop to 8-12 overall and 4-8 in the league.
The contest featured six ties and nine lead changes as no lead was greater than nine points. Pfeiffer opened the game on a 9-0 run as the Crusaders missed their first four shots but gradually worked their way back into the game to trail by only two at halftime.
Belmont Abbey was down 40-38 at the half but outscored the Falcons 32-28 in the final 20 minutes as Chen sealed the victory with half a second left.
Nick Hough brought the game to a 61-61 stalmate with a three pointer at the 6:26 mark which started a 7-0 run that lifted Belmont Abbey to a 65-61 lead with 3:53 to go.
Pfeiffer then fired back with four straight to surge back in front 66-65 with 2:14 showing, which would be its final lead until the 13 second mark.
On its next possession, Belmont Abbey missed a three pointer but Aidan Richard was fouled while grabbing the rebound. He followed with two free throws with 1:51 left to push the Crusaders back in front 67-66.
Those were the final points until the 13 second mark, as both teams turned the ball over twice. After a Falcons timeout, Mackly Bien-Aime surged towards the goal and his layup was blocked off the backboard for goaltending, moving the guests ahead by one, 68-67.
The Crusaders immediately called timeout to set up the final play. On the final play, Chen drove into the paint and missed a 12 footer, but Deion Lane grabbed the rebound on the baseline and fired the ball to Ben Ferguson, who then found Chen on the right elbow. With 0.5 left, Chen let fly a 22 footer, but he was knocked to the ground by Josh Calhoun, giving Chen three free throws with 0.5 left.
Chen made the first two, the Pfeiffer called a timeout to set up its final play. After the pause, Chen swished the final attempt, pushing the Crusaders lead to 70-68.
The Falcons ensuing inbounds pass reached midcourt, where it deflected off of the fingertips of a Pfeiffer player and time ran out.
Belmont Abbey shot just 36 percent from the field, but made 11 of 30 from beyond the arc and 21-28 from the line. Chen led all players with 21 points. Hough added 15 and Ferguson 14. Chen also had eight assists and four rebounds.
The Crusaders are back in action Saturday night at 7:30 when they go on the road to face Limestone.