Down by 11 points in the second half, the Greyhounds used a slow and steady comeback to force overtime, then scored 13 points in the extra period for an 80-75 victory in the NJCAA Region 2 Championship Game against North Arkansas College. The win gives the Greyhounds their fourth Region title in the last six years, and third consecutive after moving on to last year's National Tournament and placing fifth.
ASU Mid-South (22-8) now moves on to play the Region 16 Champion, North Central Missouri College (17-12), in Trenton, Missouri, on Saturday, March 9. North Arkansas College ends the season with a 20-11 record.
The Greyhounds led 32-30 at the half behind 9 points each from Jalen Lynn and Kamron Rose, but NorthArk took control early in the second half with a 13-2 run and led 43-34 with 14:15 left in regulation. But the home team kept chipping away at the lead as Kamron Rose and Garret Finley scored a combined 14 points while Shaheed Halk knocked down a couple of three-pointers to bring ASU Mid-South within one possession, trailing 65-62 with 3:56 left.
With both teams knowing the other well in this third meeting of the season, the defenses took over for the next three minutes until Kenny Chambers hit a jumper with 56.5 on the clock to give the Pioneers a 67-62 lead. Jalen Lynn then drove the paint and was fouled, and his two free throws pulled the Greyhounds within 67-64, and Chambers was fouled with 31.3 seconds left, sending him to the free throw line. Hitting 6-of-7 from the line at this point in the game and shooting 71% on the season, it looked bleak for the Greyhounds, but Chambers missed both and the Greyhounds got the ball to Lynn who was fouled shooting a three-pointer with 18.8 seconds on the clock. While the ball bounced high and drew the rim twice, it did not fall through, so Lynn calmly buried three free throws in a row to tie the game 67-67.
One last defensive stop was needed from the Greyhounds, but Chambers again drove the paint and was sent to the charity stripe with 6.8 seconds left. But again he missed two free throws and Christian White passed to Halk who drove the floor and found Zach Byrd for a last second shot, but the ball wouldn't fall and the game went to overtime.
Chambers struck first with a long three-pointer to give the Pioneers a 70-67 lead, but the Greyhounds scored the next 7 points on a White jumper, layups by Caleb Henry and Jalen Lynn, and White hit 1-of-2 free throws for a 74-70 lead before Chambers got to the line and hit both shots.
Then with 1:00 minute on the overtime clock and 1 second left on the shot clock, Lynn somehow found a hole in the defense and got a layup, giving the Greyhounds a 76-72 lead in the extra period. But Ian Moore hit a long trey with 46.3 seconds left to pull NorthArk within 1 at 76-75. Treay Jamison then got fouled on the following possession and hit the first of two free throws before Zach Byrd grabbed the offensive board off the second shot miss and got the ball to Lynn who was fouled with 16.8 seconds remaining.
Lynn calmly knocked another two free throws down for a 79-75 lead, Christian White grabbed the Pioneer miss and was fouled, and then hit 1-of-2 free throws for the final margin.
Jalen Lynn led the Greyhounds with 26 points and 4 steals, Kamron Rose scored 17 points to go with 6 rebounds, and Shaheed Halk chipped in 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. And for the first time in school history, three players pulled down double-figure rebounds as Zach Byrd had 14 boards, Christian White pulled down 12, and Garret Finley had 10.
The Greyhounds were able to pull out the victory despite shooting a season-low 29.2% from the field and 19.2% from the three-point line thanks to 30 offensive rebounds and forcing 23 Pioneer turnovers while giving away only 13. But NorthArk managed only 35.7% shooting from the field, 20% shooting from the three-point line and four missed free throws in the last 32 seconds of regulation that helped the Greyhounds' cause.
Details of Saturday's District Championship game will be released next week.