Senior Jordan Kimball of NMCC hit a 17-foot jump shot as time expired in overtime, to lift the Eagles over the Royals.
Kimball's first attempt to win the game with four seconds left in overtime was off the mark, but junior forward Marquese Gates of the Eagles leaped high for the offensive rebound and found Kimball open at the top of the key for the winning shot.
"I liked our chances on Jordan's second shot," said NMCC head coach Lennies McFerren. "I just knew the second shot was going in. Jordan is an excellent competitor and was a big key to our success tonight."
The Eagles got off on the right foot in the first quarter with the inside play of Gates. With six points and four rebounds, all offensive, Gates powered NMCC to a 12-10 lead after one quarter of action.
The Royals started the second quarter on defense in a 3-2 zone to try and contain the inside play of the Eagles. This strategy seemed to slow down the Eagles and helped Twin Rivers jump out to a lead in the quarter.
Jimmy Cornell hit two 3-pointers in the second quarter for the Royals and Dexter Moore had some big buckets down low, as Twin Rivers held a 29-25 lead heading into the half.
"It has been a long season for the team," said McFerren. "We are getting down to the end of the season and we are still trying to find our own identity on offense."
Lance was hard to stop in the first half on offensive and defense, with 12 points, four rebounds, three steals and two steals. Cornell scored six points and had four assists at half. Moore chipped in with six points, three rebounds and two assists.
Gates led the Eagles with 10 points and four rebounds at halftime. Shaun Newsome tallied four points and four rebounds. Sophomore Leslie Williams had four points, two rebounds and two steals off the bench for NMCC by half.
The two squads played an even third quarter, with both teams scoring 12 points and Twin Rivers led 41-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
At the 6:30 mark of the fourth quarter, NMCC took its first lead of the game since the first quarter, on a Terrard Long layup. Kimball made an outstanding pass from the top of the key to find an open Long for the two points.
In the fourth for the Royals, Lance put his team on his back. Lance found Moore down for two points and the lead, 45-43 with four minutes remaining in the contest. After Gates of NMCC tied the game at 45 on a made layup, Lance drove hard to the goal and got fouled.
Lance made 1-of-2 fouls shots and on the missed second attempt, Lance gained the offensive rebound and scored two points on the put-back. The Royals led 48-45 with three minutes left.
The Eagles tied the game at 48, on a Long 3-pointer. Lance of Twin Rivers went to work and scored on a driving layup and was hacked in the act. With the traditional three-point play by Lance, the Royals led 51-48 with 2:30 in the contest.
Kimball continued to see the floor well and found Antonio McIntosh open for a scoring layup. A dagger seemed to be delivered on the next possession by Twin Rivers, with a 3-pointer hit by Lance and the Royals led 54-50 with 1:47 in the fourth quarter.
NMCC went to Kimball on the offensive end and he came through for the Eagles by draining an 18-foot jump shot to cut the deficit to two points, 54
-52 with 1:10 on the clock. Kimball got another chance on offense after the Eagles defense took a charge against Lance as he drove the lane for the Royals.
Kimball showed no fear taking the big shots, as he drained a 15-foot jump shot to tie the game at 54 with 30 seconds remaining.
Back and forth the action continued late in the fourth quarter, as Lance gave Twin Rivers a two point lead 56-54 with 18 seconds in the game on a driving layup.
NMCC worked the clock in the remaining seconds of the game looking for a quality shot. With four seconds left, Long was fouled on a shot attempt by the Royals and had two foul shots to tie the game. Long calmly sank the free-
throws to tie the game at 56.
Twin Rivers called time out to set a play. Having to go the distance of the court in four seconds, the Royals attempted to loft the ball to Lance over NMCC defenders, however, the Eagles picked off the pass attempt and had two chances to win the game but the shots were off and the game went into overtime tied 56-56.
In overtime, NMCC got on the board first thanks to McIntosh going 1-for-2 from the foul line giving the Eagles a 57-56 lead. After Lance of the Royals missed two foul shots, McIntosh went back to the line for the Eagles and drained the two foul shots, as NMCC increased their lead to three points, 59
-56 with 1:15 left in overtime.
On the next possession, Lance continued to carry the Royals in overtime with two huge offensive rebounds which resulted in two foul shots for Lance which he drained. Leading 59-58 with 38 seconds, Kimball hit two free-throws of his own to put the Eagles up 61-58.
Trailing by three, Twin Rivers passed the ball around the perimeter looking for an open 3-pointer. Finally, Lance stepped well beyond the 3-point arch and drained a three with 18 seconds left in overtime to tie the game at 61.
But NMCC had the final tally on the scoreboard thanks to some hustle on the boards by Gates and ice in the veins of Kimball, who drained the game-
winning shot and gave NMCC the 63-61 win in overtime.
"Our guys have come a long way," said McFerren. "Can't say enough about how proud I am of the guys. We started out in the season as individuals and now we are starting to come together as a team."
Lance led the Royals with 33 points, 11 rebounds (five offensive), five steals and four blocks. Of Twin Rivers' 20 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, Lance scored 18 of those points and assisted on the other two points.
Moore finished with eight points and six rebounds. Cornell had a nice night with six points and led the Royals with five assists.
The Royals grabbed 28 rebounds (10 offensive) as a team and dished out 12 assists. For the contest, Twin Rivers committed 18 turnovers, had nine steals and six blocks.
Gates led NMCC with 16 points and seven rebounds (six offensive). Kimball finished with 12 points, a team high eight assists and three steals.
McIntosh scored 11 points and Long had seven points, four assists, four steals and two rebounds.
The Eagles had 30 rebounds (12 offensive) and 19 assists as a team. NMCC committed 14 turnovers and had 13 steals in the contest. NMCC's bench outscored Twin Rivers' bench 10-3 in the contest.
"This team has had a lot of bad times this year," said McFerren. "I believe we are starting to come together. Games like tonight and against Cape Central (79-74 NMCC victory) are very good for us. I feel great for the guys because they really worked for this victory."
NMCC (4-10) will travel to Dexter on Friday night to take on the Bearcats in SEMO Conference action. Junior varsity game slated to begin at 6 p.m.