ORANGE, Calif. – Charles Young took the inbound from King Grant-Perry 90 feet from the basket, weaved his way through a pair of defenders and launched an off-balanced 3-pointer just before the clock hit all zeros.
Young's game-winning, buzzer-beating 3 lifted the Johnson & Wales University men's basketball team to a thrilling 80-77 road win over Chapman on Friday night. Playing their fifth game in seven days, the Wildcats (8-1) won their third straight on the road and improved to 2-0 on their three-game, three-day roadtrip.
"Coach (Quintin Grogan) just said, 'Get the ball and go, don't hesitate, push it right away,'" said Young, (Park Hill, Colo.), a freshman who was mobbed by his teammates after the sinking the game-winner from the right wing. "So as soon as I got the ball, I took off. I looked up and I knew I had to get it off so I just let it go."
JWU Denver led 39-26 at halftime and by eight with less than a minute to go before the host Panthers (4-3) put together a furious comeback. Chapman scored eight points in the final 53 seconds to tie the game at 77 on a pair of free throws by Cam Haslam, setting the stage for Young's coast-to-coast game-winner.
Jontrell Herman showed no signs of wearing down despite the busy stretch, leading the Wildcats with 25 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals. Andrew Romero III didn't either, adding 17 points, three boards, three steals and block. Grant-Perry (Cleveland, Ohio) scored a season-high 15 points and grabbed a team-best nine rebounds.
The Wildcats struggled at the free throw line (11-of-19) but were efficient from behind the arc (7-of-17) and got out in transition with 21 fastbreak points. And for the sixth time in eight games, coach Grogan's team had at least 10 steals – with Herman and Romero III combining for seven of those swipes.
The Wildcats wrap up their Los Angeles-area trip Saturday at Whittier, a rematch of a 99-87 JWU Denver victory on Dec. 1.