The Terriers had a timeout remaining, but with possession of the ball in a tie game with 21 seconds left, they choose not to use it as they already had a play drawn up, a pick-and-roll between Brent Jones and Jalen Cannon.
Racing down the court, Jones quickly changed the game plan when he saw senior guard Aleksandar Isailovic wide open and passed him the ball. Isailovic got the pass, took a millisecond to set himself and unleashed a shot from behind the arc. It went in just before the buzzer went off and the Terriers beat Lafayette 65-62 in Brooklyn Heights on Thursday night.
“Coach had faith in us,” Isailovic said. “He didn’t call timeout. The play was for Brent, a pick-and-roll with Jalen, but he saw me open and passed it to me for the shot. It’s crazy. It’s the first time in my basketball career that I made a game-winning shot. It is really exciting.”
That shot took a lot of guts because the original play was for Cannon, who led the Terriers with 19 points and nine rebounds. After the game, Cannon said that even though he was leading in points that he wasn’t happy with the way that he played and that the team made the right decision going to Isailovic.
“I kind of felt like I was rushing myself out there a little bit,” Cannon admitted. “If I slowed down I could have had a lot more points, but today was an off day. I’m never satisfied though. Defensively, I could have played harder, like coach said, I was falling asleep a little bit.”
That shot helped the Terriers overcome a tremendous game by Lafayette’s Bryce Scott, who had 22 points by halftime and finished with 35 points overall. The rest of his team had a combined 27 points.
“At halftime, we were just yelling at each other in the locker room, ‘Who’s going to step up to guard this guy? Who is going to stop him?’” Cannon said. “He’s probably the best shooter I’ve seen in this league.”
The Terriers never did stop him, but they slowed him down enough to overcome a 34-30 deficit that they took into the half with them.
The turning point happened early in the second quarter though as Kevin Douglas hit a three just 37 seconds in to cut the lead to one. St. Francis then took the lead 31 seconds later when Douglas hit a fast-break layup to go ahead 35-34. The Terriers held on to that lead for most of the second half too, eventually stretching it to 11 with 8:05 left to play.
Lafayette managed to chip away at it enough to tie the game on a three-point shot by Scott, but with 21 seconds left on the clock and possession of the ball, there wasn’t enough time for Lafayette and Isailovic made sure of that.
“That’s a tough team to play against,” Terrier’s coach Glenn Braica said. “They run so many good plays. They zoned us, they slowed us down, they took us out of rhythm. They did a great job so we’re very happy to get out of here with a win.”