Coming off a tight win the night before can take a lot out of a team. It takes a lot of energy mentally, physically, and emotionally. The result however is sweet and makes it all worth it. The only downside is when there is a game the next day that takes the same amount of effort. With the Plainsmen hosting the Knights of North Platte, they knew that it was going to come down to the wire. Last time they met, the Plainsmen came up short at the buzzer when the Knights put a shot up and made it for the victory. Northeastern has wanted to replay that game over again, and this game would be there chance.
The game would start with the Knights getting hot and taking a 15-7 lead over the Plainsmen in the first six minutes. The Plainsmen would try to chip away at their lead, but could not find their rhythm until the two-minute mark. At that point, NJC was able to bring it within five, but with time ticking to end the half, the Knights would make a layup and send it back to a seven-point deficit, 43-36.
The second half, the Plainsmen would rally around Marcus Burwell. In that half alone, he would score 19 of his 34 points. He would also find his open players and would eventually end with nine assists in the game. Within the first five minutes, the Plainsmen would find themselves further behind the Knights as their lead would be stretched to 14 points. With the game getting away from them, and the game being under the eight-minute mark, the Plainsmen needed to find their guy. As mentioned before, Burwell would be that guy. Burwell would get hot and help bring their deficit back to null, and eventually take the three point lead as he would find Nykolas Lange in the corner. With two-minutes to go, the lead would exchange hands and the game was anyone's to win. With 13 seconds to go, the Knights would make a layup to tie the game, and the Plainsmen would get one last shot to win in.
With time expiring, everyone knew who was going to get the ball for the shot. Burwell would be set a screen from Ben Davis II at the top of the arch, and would drive off of it. Davis's defender would double team Burwell trying to get him to shoot a contested shot. But Burwell would make the heads up play and hit Davis after he popped for him to shoot the wide open shot at the buzzer. That shot is a great shot for Davis, and any one on the staff was comfortable with him shooting it. As the ball would travel in the air, it was on line and headed to be the game winner. The ball however would have a mind of its own and bounce around and eventually fall out, forcing the game to overtime.
In overtime, the Plainsmen could not get the energy back on their side after the Knights got a few open layups, which would give them the lead. The Plainsmen did however keep their heads in it and keep playing their game, scratching back into the game. With 18 seconds left, NJC would trail by one point, but NPCC would have possession of the ball. A fould by Lange would allow them to go up by three after two made free throws. Once they would get the ball, the Plainsmen set up a play that was sniffed out by the Knights. The shot that was put up by J. Parker would come up short, but Davis would come up with the offensive rebound. As he would go up with it he would be fouled, sending him to the line with three-tenths of a second to go. To tie the game, he would need to make the first, then purposefully miss the second to try and get the tip back to tie it again. After the first made free throw, Davis would shoot it and would have it take a good bounce, but a lane violation on the Plainsmen would give possession back to the Knights and ending the game.
The Plainsmen will be back home against Peterson Air Force base on Monday February 27.