Sternberger’s Buzzer Beater Lifts Hillcats Past Riverhawks, 61-59

Freshman Jett Sternberger hit a game-winning three as time expired to lift the Rogers State men’s basketball team to a, 61-59, victory over No. 24 Northeastern State Friday night at the NSU Event Center.

The game started quickly for the Hillcats as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but the RiverHawks would quickly fight back with a 13-0 run to put the Hillcats in a deficit. RSU would once again regain the lead with the help of 11-0 run with six minutes left in the first half.  NSU closed out the half on a 9-2 run to take the 39-35 lead into the locker room at the break.

The second half was a back and forth battle with four lead changes and the largest lead of five coming with Iain McLaughlin making the second of two free throws for the first points of the stanza. With less than three minutes to play in the game, Brewster Peacock gave RSU a one-point lead with a layup and a made free throw. Tavian Davis pushed the lead to three points with a steal and a layup in the next possession. The RiverHawks cut the lead to one point with a Brad Davis layup and took the lead with 11 seconds left thanks to a pair of made free throws by Caleb Smith. 

A missed jump shot by senior Gabriel Ferreira in the closing seconds deflected out of bounds by NSU and gave the Hillcats one final chance with .4 seconds left.

Junior Cole Kinnamon found a wide-open Sternberger in front of the Hillcat bench on the inbounds and the freshman answered the call with a three-pointer as time expired. Officials confirmed the call after review and the Hillcats entered the Holiday season with something extra to celebrate.

Sternberger would lead the Hillcats in scoring with 12 points in the game. All of his points came from three-point range as he shot 50 percent from beyond the arc. Sternberger would also record three rebounds for the Hillcats.

Senior Christopher Miller would be the only other Hillcat to finish in double-figure points finishing with 10 points in the game. Miller would also record six rebounds, tying for the team high in the game, and two steals.

Ferreira hauled in six rebounds for the game and added seven points. Junior Darraja Parnell led the team in assists, dishing five while adding five points and four rebounds.

The game rounds out the 2019 calendar year for the Hillcats. RSU will return to action on the road in the New Year, traveling to Missouri Western January 4, 2020, with tip-off slated for 4 p.m.