WELLAND, Ont. - It took some timely 3-point shooting to pull them out of the fire, but in the end the Sheridan Bruins men's basketball team (28-6, 18-4 OCAA) did just enough to hold off Fanshawe 67-61 to advance to the OCAA semi final.
"Survive and advance, there's really nothing more to say," head coach Jim Flack said. "Fanshawe had a great gameplan and we shot poorly because of it."
With the Double Blue clinging to a 56-55 lead with 2:14 remaining after a pair of free throws from Jemol Edwards, the Bruins forced a turnover near midcourt which led to Nav Deol trailing behind the play and knocking down a 3-pointer.
Sheridan was able to get a stop at the defensive end on the ensuing Fanshawe possession, and Nick Campbell capped the run at 7-0 with a step-back baseline jumper to push the lead to six, 61-55, with 1:19 remaining.
After going 3-8 from the free throw to begin the fourth quarter, with a tight game on the line in the final three minutes, they were 8-10 - including a stretch where they knocked down six straight - to secure the win.
It had looked like the game was slipping away from the Bruins early in the fourth quarter, as Fanshawe stretched out a seven-point lead with just under seven minutes to play.
But it was Edwards who pulled Sheridan back into it, drilling 3-balls on back-to-back possessions to climb to within one.
Both sides took turns with low scoring quarters, as a 23-9 second quarter for Sheridan saw them push their lead as high as 14, but Fanshawe held them to six in the third quarter to setup a tense final frame.
Edwards was named player of the game for Sheridan after scoring a game-high 22, connecting on 4-7 attempts from deep.
The Double Blue were able to limit Fanshawe's two all-stars - Chris Parker and Sean Clendinning - to a combined 22 points on 7-36 shooting from the floor (.194).
With the win, the Bruins will turn their attention to the Seneca Sting (21-1 OCAA), regular season champions of the East Division.
The two sides met on the final day of the East/West Holiday Series in late December, with Seneca earning a tight 92-83 victory.
"Seneca shoots it so well and they are so disciplined," Flack said. "The staff over there has a great program from top to bottom."
Blue notes: 3-point shooting was so vital for the Bruins as they were more than 10 per cent better from the permieter (10-26, .385) than they were on 2-point field goals (12-36, .278).