A pair of Fort Wayne natives returned to the Summit City on Tuesday night and combined for 61 points in leading No. 11 Bethel to a win over 21st-ranked Saint Francis at the Hutzell Athletic Center.
North Side graduate TreVion Crews poured in 33 points, including 24 after halftime, and grabbed nine rebounds and Keonte Jenkins added 28 points to push the Pilots to a 112-107 overtime win. Blackhawk Christian graduate Jalan Mull had 17 points and five assists for the Cougars.
"I was just finding my spots on the court," said Crews, who came in 11th in NAIA Division II in scoring at 21.9 points per game. "Obviously I've played here before, last year, it's a nice place to play, obviously it's my hometown so I'm just happy to play here.
"I had the home crowd here, my family, my friends. It feels good playing in front of them."
Jenkins was fired up for the game, as well. After hitting a 3-pointer in the first half, he clapped his hands loudly and shouted "Let's go" at his teammates as they went back to the huddle for a timeout.
The two local products hit the biggest shots of the game in the extra session. Jenkins buried a 3 to put Bethel (19-4, 7-4 Crossroads) up 102-99. With 53 seconds left, Crews gave his team the breathing room it needed, draining another 3 to make it 107-103.
"We want teams to shoot 15- to 18-foot jumpers contested and (Crews) just hits shot after shot," Cougars coach Chad LaCross said. "Not only that, but then he rebounds, he defends, he can knock down the 3, and then he can get to the basket. ... It's just a tough matchup for anybody, one of the best guards in the country."
Saint Francis (17-6, 6-5) led down the stretch in the second half and had opportunities to win the game at the end. The Cougars took an 88-86 lead with 4:48 remaining when Mull stole a pass, threw it ahead to Antwaan Cushingberry and Cushingberry tossed a one-handed no-look pass behind him to Carroll graduate David Ejah for a dunk.
USF was up 97-95 with 40 seconds left in regulation, but guard Grant Gelon, who began his career playing for the Hoosiers at Indiana, drove to the basket for a game-tying finger roll. Gelon had 16 points and five rebounds before leaving the game with an ankle injury.
On Saint Francis' final possession, the Cougars got the ball to the top of the key and Hunter Hollowell had an open 3 for the win. The ball was halfway down, but wouldn't stay, necessitating an extra period.
"We had a couple things open, I thought we got a good look, we just didn't hit the shot," Mull said. "It's basketball, we're not going to hit every shot, but I thought we got a good look out of it."
Saint Francis went 1 for 11 from 3-point range after halftime after going 8 for 16 in the first half.
After the game, Crews stayed on the court, greeting all the family and friends that came to watch him play. The 2014 SAC Player of the Year, who wears No. 24, had written on his shoes "Bean #24", a reference to the middle name and number of five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, who passed away Sunday at age 41.
"(Bryant) paved the way for me," Crews said. "I felt like it was time for me to go back and glorify his name."