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Roadrunners use second-half surge to beat Saints

COLLEGE BASKETBALL -- Teams battle back and forth throughout the final 20 minutes
by: David Ball,

Linn-Benton came up big when it mattered most, using a late surge to beat Mt. Hood Community College 66-63 in a men's basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 9.

Tied 63-63 in the final minute, the host Saints called timeout to draw up a game-winning play. Instead, the Linn-Benton defense smothered every shooter on the court and forced Mt. Hood to fire a difficult 3-pointer from the corner of the court as the shot-clock expired. The shot glanced off the rim, putting the fate of the game in the Roadrunners' hands.

Linn-Benton made the most of their opportunity when guard Tyson Christie drove into the lane and drew a foul. He swished both free throws for the winning points with 9.4 seconds on the clock.

The Saints tried to answer when Demarcus Branch raced downcourt and fired a pass under the basket only to see the ball hit his teammate's leg and roll out of bounds.

Mt. Hood dominated the first half, building a nine-point lead at one point. But the Saints went cold late in the half, and Linn-Benton closed to within a single basket when Christie converted a three-point play just before the break.