Meadville was just inches away from completing a 12-point comeback over Greenville on Monday night at the House of Thrills, but Charlie Waid’s deep 3-point attempt hit the rim and bounced out as time expired.
The Trojans beat the Bulldogs 57-55.
“That’s how we’ve been playing about the last two weeks. We go down by 20 then have a big fourth quarter,” Meadville head coach Mark McElhinny said. “Greenville played really well. They shot the ball well and made some key shots throughout the game. We just never got any momentum going.”
Senior guard Sam Burchard was on fire early, scoring seven in the first quarter to lead his team to a 14-8 lead. The lead wouldn’t stand for long though.
The Trojans overtook Meadville midway through the second amid a 16-4 run to hold a 26-24 lead at halftime.
“We shot the ball well at times, but we need to get stops,” McElhinny said. “That’s where it starts for us, on defense.”
Greenville kept momentum in their favor throughout the third quarter. The Trojan offense flowed through Benny Cano as he scored 11 in the quarter and had several assists to wide-open Trojans.
“They need to get stops on defense and be able to possess and move the ball,” McElhinny said. “We typically don’t play well from behind so we need to do a better job of having good possessions early in the game.”
The final quarter opened up with the ‘Dogs down 47-35, but a quick McElhinny 3-pointer got Meadville rolling. With high-energy defense, the Bulldogs forced the Trojans to make mistakes and turn the ball over. Trojan turnovers translated into Bulldog buckets and the team found themselves down one with less than a minute remaining.
With about 45 seconds left, McElhinny stole the ball off an errant pass and passed up the floor to Reese Pero. Pero made a difficult layup to give his team a 55-54 lead.
On the other end, Cano caught the ball in the high post with about 20 seconds on the clock. He maneuvered his way closer to the basket and faked with his right hand to get his defender off balance. Cano used the space to score a left handed layup at the 14 second mark.
On offense, Pero missed a layup in the lane, forcing the Bulldogs to foul and send Jonah Lentz to the free throw line on a 1-and-1 opportunity. Jonah missed the free throw, but Cano secured an offensive rebound and was fouled on a put-back attempt.
Cano made the first shot to give the Trojans a two point lead, but missed his second shot. Waid grabbed the rebound with five seconds left and sprinted down the floor. He pulled up from about 30-feet out to give the Dog’s a win, but his shot hit the rim and bounced out.
“I thought Chuck (Waid) did a good job throughout the game,” McElhinny said. “Ben (Cano) just made some tough shots, especially that last shot he made. It was a great move.”
The non-region loss to Greenville (9-9) marks a three-game skid for Meadville (10-6).
Cano led all scorers with 21. Burchard paced Meadville with 16. McElhinny scored 10 while Waid and Khalon Simmons added eight.