Thursday night was no exception.
East Tennessee State used a dominating performance on the boards and scored the final 11 points in overtime to escape with an 81-72 victory over Samford in a Southern Conference basketball game at Freedom Hall.
The result left Forbes 6-0 in overtime games in his four seasons at ETSU.
“I like to win in regulation,” Forbes said after his team improved to 12-4 overall, 2-1 in the SoCon. “I guess it’s confidence that we prepare for these type of things.”
Samford fell to 11-5, 1-2.
The Bucs outrebounded the Bulldogs 48-31 with Jeromy Rodriguez grabbing a career-high 19 and Mladen Armus getting 17, his most ever as well.
“It’s amazing,” Forbes said. “Those two guys, they play really hard. They chase the ball and they have really strong hands.”
Tray Boyd III led ETSU with 22 points, including seven in overtime.
The Bucs blew a 17-point lead in the second half, yet had a couple of chances to win it in regulation. Boyd missed on a drive with 6.1 seconds left, but the rebound went out of bounds off of a Samford player. Isaiah Tisdale then split two defenders and missed an off-balance 15-footer at the buzzer.
Samford scored first in the extra session on two free throws by Brandon Austin. The Bucs took over from there, finishing the game on an 11-0 run.
The victory wasn’t certain until Boyd swished a 3-pointer and sank two free throws in a 30-second span that left the Bucs up 79-72 with 38 seconds remaining.
Boyd had missed his last six shots before converting the biggest one of the night.
“I’ve always been taught to keep shooting,” said Boyd, who went 8 of 21 from the field.
“Shooter mentality,” Forbes said. “Those guys have to believe they can make the next 10 in a row. You have to believe that if you’re going to be a shooter. If you start shaking your head, then you’re not.”
BY THE NUMBERS
In addition to all the rebounds, Rodriguez added 12 points and Armus and Kevon Tucker each had 11 for ETSU.
After the Bucs missed nine of 15 free throws in regulation, they made all six of their attempts in overtime.
Ruben Guerrero and Austin scored 16 points apiece to lead Samford. Josh Starkey and Robert Allen both had 13. Starkey added 14 assists.
Samford went six minutes without a rebound midway through the first half.
The Bucs led 47-32 at halftime and scored first to start the second half, but they missed nine of their next 10 shots and the lead began to dwindle.
After Samford’s Austin swished a 3-pointer, ETSU’s advantage was down to 53-49 with 12:39 left.
The Bulldogs finally caught ETSU when Myron Gordon’s 3-pointer with 1:18 left made it 70-70. The Bucs didn’t make a field goal in the final four minutes of regulation as Samford outscored them 10-1 to force overtime.
“I didn’t know who that was that showed up in the first half,” Samford coach Scott Padgett said. “But I thought the second half was who we’ve been all year. Unfortunately, you dig yourself a 15-point hole, all it could do was get us to overtime.”
Late in regulation, Padgett got into a verbal altercation with an official, who was restrained after moving in toward the Samford coach. Padgett motioned and yelled at Southern Conference Commissioner John Iamarino, who was sitting on press row.
“I’ve never seen an official charge a coach,” Padgett said. “I literally said ‘Are you stepping at me right now?’ That’s what I think’s hilarious. It’s not a real world out there because a guy like that stepping at me is not realistic. I mean, if we’re out on the street, he’s running the other way just if he sees me walking. I’m 6-9, probably 280 right now. Not a lot of people step to me.”
ETSU plays host to Chattanooga on Saturday at 4 p.m., while Samford is at Western Carolina.