Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Late Free Throw Rallies Clayton Past Brentwood

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Late Free Throw Rallies Clayton Past Brentwood

Article excerpt

Rich Niemann's glory days as a 7-foot center at St. Louis University in the 1960s are fondly remembered, but he might want to forget the final seconds of Friday's nonconference game against host Clayton.

On the bench in place of Brentwood coach Sam Davis, who was attending a graduation, Niemann couldn't help but nod after the Eagles blew a 13-point halftime lead and lost 54-53 on a free throw by Tom Eidelman with two seconds remaining.

"I lost my voice," said Niemann, who is Brentwood's junior varsity coach. The final 25 seconds were hair-raising. Clayton's Desmond Young hit two free throws with 23 seconds left after breaking Brentwood's halfcourt trap to extend the Greyhounds' lead to 53-50. Brentwood's Jasen Beasley nailed a 3-point shot from the right corner with 14 seconds remaining to pull Brentwood even. Brentwood made a steal after Clayton inbounded the ball, then turned it back over to the Greyhounds after a blocked shot. Eidelman raced up the court with four seconds remaining and was fouled with two seconds left. He missed the first attempt, and Niemann called timeout. Niemann said he wasn't trying to ice Eidelman. After the free throw, "I wanted to set up a long, quick pass," Niemann said. Clayton coach Joe Gamlin used the timeout to calm Eidelman, and it worked. He swished in the shot. Clayton improved to 2-5. Brentwood fell to 1-7. "After (Eidelman) missed the first free throw, I thought, `I need to settle him down,' " Gamlin said. "He's our best free throw shooter, and he usually makes both of those. I had all the confidence he would hit the second shot. I liked it when (Niemann) called timeout." Moments before the winning free throw, Clayton's Courtney Crawford made a nifty steal and a behind-the-back pass to Eidelman, who missed the layup. Eidelman was happy to get a second chance. "It was a beautiful pass from Courtney, but just a little behind me," Eidelman said of the missed layup. "I knew I could make the (second) free throw the whole time. …

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