Photo by Greg Markovich
(NORTH CANTON, Ohio) – With four seconds left, Conor Keck converted an old-fashioned three-point play to give Walsh an 87-85 lead it held to upset No. 6 Saginaw Valley State on Saturday. It capped an eight-point comeback in the final 4:54 to give the Cavaliers (10-4, 4-4) a split with the North Division.
The Cardinals (11-3, 4-3) are the highest ranked opponent that Walsh has defeated since making the jump to the NCAA in 2012-13. Walsh also defeated No. 17 Ashland on road a season ago.
Keck's play capped a crazy final minute that saw the lead change three times. Zac Carter initially gave Walsh an 84-82 lead after a steal and layup with 47 seconds to place. Saginaw Valley's Garrett Hall was fouled on the return trip and made the first free throw, but missed the second before C.J. Turnage picked up the loose ball rebound and put it back in to give the Cardinals a one-point lead with 29 seconds to play.
After a Cardinals time out and being trapped in front of his own bench, Trey Fletcher found Keck barreling down the lane where he skied over Saginaw Valley's Caleb Davis on a jumper in the paint.
Before that Carter scored 11 of Walsh's previous 13 points to get the Cavs back in contention. He finished with 34 points for the second consecutive game. He was 11-of-19 overall and 5-of-6 from behind the arc. He dished out three assists and swiped three balls as well.
Carter has now scored 30 points or more in three of the last four games and at least 25 points in the last five games.
Fletcher also had an impressive game as he totaled 23 points and led the team along with Chandler Vaudrin with eight rebounds. None were bigger than the defensive board after a missed free throw by Turnage on an and-one opportunity with 1:21 to go in the game. It allowed the Cavaliers to tie the game at 82-82 on the return trip after Carter sank 2-of-3 free throws.
Jameel Moore joined the Ironton duo in double-figures with 13 points. He was 3-of-4 overall, all of which came frome 3-point land, and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line.
The Cardinals had five players in double-figures and were led by Davis with 18 points. Turnage added 16.
Both teams shot exceptionally well for the game. Walsh had a 54.5 percent success rate as it made 30-of-55 overall, but were also lethal from downtown as the Cavs sank 11-of-18 3-pointers for a 61.1 percent clip. The Cardinals shot 33-of-63 overall for 52.4 percent and made 10-of-28 from downtown.
With their games against the North Division complete, the Cavaliers will play their final non-conference game before starting play against the South Division a week from today. That game will be against future conference rival Ohio Valley University in Vienna, W. Va., on Tuesday. Tipoff with the Fighting Scots is set for 7:30 p.m.