McCollum plays hero on the buzzer

MOUNT UNION – Despite playing Wednesday night’s game with some of their starters sitting on the bench injured, Mount Union sported a few new faces and a veteran as they faced off against Glendale.

The game that had a little bit of everything – numerous lead changes, strong defensive stands, clutch shots, freshman 3-pointers and a buzzer beater – and for the homestanding Trojans, it included an Inter-County Conference boys basketball win, 49-48.

Mount Union’s Kevin McCollum finished with a followup at the bucket for his only score in the contest as the fourth quarter buzzer sounded, leading his team to victory.

“After losing Kahlil (Fortson) and B.J. (Loner) we were in a funk the last three games and I’m so proud of their effort tonight. These kids worked hard,” Mount Union coach Joe Komir said. “We have some new kids playing. I was very impressed with Andre Trice. He did a very good job today. We needed that. I am so proud of how they played. We had some guys step up tonight.”

Leading the way offensively for the Tojans was Jamal Smith, who tallied 16, while teammate Klayton Heffner added 14. Freshman Trice just missed double digits, netting eight. Two of Trice’s buckets came from beyond the arc in the third quarter. Smith tallied two triples as well while Heffner and Kole House added one each from beyond the arc.

Glendale had just one double-digit scorer: Marcus McCrae hit nine field goals, two from three-point land, four free throws en route to a game-high 22 points for the Vikings.

After three quarters of back and forth leads, Mount Union had a 38-37 lead going into the final stanza.

Heffner gave the Trojans some breathing room to start the quarter, hitting nothing but net as he loaded up and shot one from beyond the 3-point line, making it 41-37.

Mount Union built up its biggest lead of the game minutes later on a free throw by Heffner, going ahead by five at 45-40.

But much like the first three quarters, the Vikings had an answer and that was to get the ball to McCrae. He did not disappoint, hitting the next five points of the game, knotting things with 3:36 left.

With 2:15 left, Glendale took back the lead when Shea O’Donnell hit one of two from the charity stripe. As time was running down to the one-minute mark, the Vikings went up by three on a lay in by Braniff.

On the following Mount Union possession, Heffner found himself open underneath to cut the lead to one, 47-48.

From there, the game had a few twists and turns as the Vikings would get the ball and had more than one chance to run the clock down.

First, a defensive stand by the Trojans forced a five-second call, giving the ball back to Mount Union.

Then near tradegy struck when the Trojans were called for a travel with 14.4 ticks left on the clock.

Mount Union was forced to foul, putting the Vikings on the line for a one-and-one opportunity. The Trojans rebounded the first shot and worked the ball down the court. After a miss by Heffner and a put-back attempt by Kole House, McCollum collected the ball and hit the third try just before the buzzer sounded, giving the Trojans the victory.

“I thought we played good defense and and enough offense to win the game,” Komir said. “They showed there at the end that the wouldn’t quit and I am very proud of them.”

Mount Union travels to Bellwood-Antis Friday.