The Spring Hill College men's basketball team used a 16-1 run in overtime to take an SSAC victory away from the Lee University Flames by the score of 77-62 on Saturday evening at the Arthur R. Outlaw Recreation Center.
A buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Lee's Ryan Westbrooks staked the Flames (4-2, 2-2 SSAC) to a 9-point 33-24 advantage at the intermission, but the Badgers came out of the locker room with a renewed focus and immediately began whittling away at the lead.
With 10 minutes left, Spring Hill found themselves down by just two points after a 3-pointer by freshman guard Halen Butler of Spring, Texas, made it 43-41 in favor of the visitors from Cleveland, Tenn.
Less than two minutes later freshman center Jake Thelen converted a free throw to complete a 3-point play to give SHC its first lead of the second half at 55-54.
For the remainder of regulation play the Badgers and the Flames would battle toe-to-toe through seven ties and three lead changes until Lee's Alex Wells sent the game into overtime with a tying layup at 61-61 with just two seconds showing on the clock.
In the overtime, Coach Robert Thompson's Badgers used quick hands on defense to convert fast break opportunities into either open layups or free throws as Lee found themselves down 68-61 in just over two minutes of playing time.
From there, Lee's long-distance shooters couldn't find the bucket as a suffocating SHC perimeter defense put the clamps down on the Flames' offense and Badger rebounders feasted on the free balls under the basket to close out the 77-62 final score.
Thelen led all scorers with 21 points and 10 rebounds while senior guard Stephen Burches scored 15 points, junior guard Ricky Sears added 13 to the totals and fellow junior guard Brett Williams dropped in 11 points.
Westbrooks and Wells each scored 17 for the Flames and Tyrone Caldwell added 12 points for the visitors.
Overall, the Badgers shot 41 % (25-61) from the field and 22.2% (4-18) from outside the arc. Lee was 37.3% (19-51) in shooting and 26.3% (5-19) from long distance.
The rebounding margin was close throughout regulation play, but the Badgers controlled the boards in overtime to take a final 39-34 edge in that category. Spring Hill's defense proved to be the real game-winner, however, as the Badgers took away 16 turnovers by Lee off nine steals and committed just 10 fumbles against five steals by the Flames.
SHC (6-2, 3-1 SSAC West) will next host Carver Bible College in a non-conference game beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Outlaw Recreation Center.