Golden Eagles Outlast Fontbonne in SLIAC Championship

Golden Eagles Outlast Fontbonne in SLIAC Championship

In a game that featured 12 ties and 11 lead changes the Spalding University men's basketball was the one in the end that out lasted their opponent, Fontbonne University, to capture the 2015 SLIAC Championship. The game's largest lead was nine points, held by Spalding, but for the majority of the game remained within five points of each other with Spalding walking away with the 58-51 win.

The game went back and forth the entire first-half, with the largest lead being three points on two occassions. James Abrams hit a pair of free-throws for Spalding that gave them an early 6-3 lead however Fontbonne's Richard Dorhauer answered back with a three to tie the game up. Moments later Spalding's Brandon Gabriel knocked down a three of his own to put the Golden Eagles up 11-8. But back to back jumpers by Griffins Ben Kissing and Darius Rucker gave Fontbonne a 12-11 lead with 11:52 on the clock.

Spalding scored the final three points of the first-half, all coming on free-throws, and took a 26-25 lead into the break. The back and forth pace continued in the second half as Jared Greenlee opened the scoring with a jumper to give Fontbonne the lead back. With the game tied at 35 and 12:37 remaining the Golden Eagles finally opened up a small lead when James Turner started a 9-0 run.

Turner started the run with a jumper with Gabriel and Jovante Lavendar following with two's of their own. Brandon Goeing capped the Spalding run with a three that made the score 44-35 with just over nine-minutes left. The Griffins however would not go easy as back to back three's by Blake Welch closed the score to 44-41. Fontbonne cut the Spalding lead down to two when Jared Greenlee hit a jumper to make the score 50-48 but that would be the closest the Griffins could get.

A Donnie Lewis jumper made the score 52-48 with 1:33 left in the game as Fontbonne tried to extend the game on the free-throw line. Spalding closed out the game with four made free-throws in the final 48-seconds, finishing with the 58-51 win.

Spalding was led by Brandon Gabriel's 19 points while Brandon Goeing added 11 points and Renaldo Moore finished with eight points and nine rebounds. Jared Greenlee led Fontbonne with 14 points while Welch finished the game with nine points and two steals. Spalding shot 42-percent in the game and committed just four turnovers while holding Fontbonne to just 36-percent shooting.

Gabriel was named SLIAC Tournament MVP while Moore picked up All-Tournament honors. Fontbonne's Welch and Dorhauer were also named to the All-Tournament team as were MacMurray College's Clayton Whitlock and Webster University's Aaron Griffin.