published Friday, November 18th, 2011

Bradley gets past Stars in double overtime

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- With injuries to two key starters, Bradley Central basketball coach Kent Smith jokingly asked around about where he could find "a few good men" before his team's Hall of Fame game with Siegel.

What he found out Thursday night was that the ones he had available are still pretty special.

The Bears got career-high performances from Miles Morgan and Miles Christian and outscored the Stars 17-4 in the final 4:05 to claim an 82-71 double-overtime victory. Bradley, already without junior guard Bryce Copeland to a bone break in his right arm, lost senior forward James Stovall to a shoulder injury earlier this week.

Stovall recently committed to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on a football scholarship.

"All we've heard about is Bryce going down," Christian said. "Coach told me that I was going to have some open opportunities, and I told him that I would knock down some shots if I was open."

Justin Houston, who finished with eight points and 11 assists, had possibly the game's biggest play. With the Bears down 67-65 with 5.4 seconds remaining in the first overtime, and with the ball underneath Siegel's basket, Smith called a play in which the ball was thrown to 6-foot-6 post Matthew Whitmire at midcourt. Whitmire quickly threw it to Houston, whose driving layup beat the buzzer and sent the game to another overtime.

Houston had four points and two assists in the final overtime period.

"There are a lot of people doubting us because we've lost Bryce and because we've lost James, so we're coming out with a chip on our shoulder," he said. "We knew that we had to stay composed; if we did that, I knew we could get the win."

The back-and-forth battle featured eight ties and 16 lead changes, with the final tally being the largest lead for either team. The Stars last led on a putback by Treyton Harris before Houston's tying score in the first overtime, but they had three players foul out in the final minutes. Bradley, who finished 26-for-38, hit 7-for-10 from the foul line in the final frame.

Morgan had 23 points and nine rebounds to lead the Bears. Hunter Chastain had 19 points and equaled Morgan's rebounding output, while Christian had 16. Whitmire added eight points.

Siegel was led by Charles Clark's four 3s and 25 points, while Dominique Gooch had 17 and Harris 16.

The Stars were 12-for-16 at the foul line.

"We got in foul trouble early, and that's going to thin you out, especially if the game goes into double overtime," Siegel coach John Palmer said. The Stars lost eight seniors from a Class AAA state semifinalist a season ago.

"With the success we've had, there's going to be a target on our back, and the young guys are going to have to bring their 'A' game every night."

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