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HomeSportCollege Hoops: Sullivan Menard hits late 3 to force OT, finishes with...

College Hoops: Sullivan Menard hits late 3 to force OT, finishes with 16 points as Whitworth wins D3 tournament opener over Cal Lutheran

Sullivan Menard

Crunch time was Sully time Friday night as Wasilla’s Sullivan Menard hit the biggest shot of his college basketball career.

The junior guard forced overtime after drilling a clutch 3-pointer late in regulation and finished with 16 points as Whitworth University men’s team upset 12th-ranked Cal Lutheran 78-73 in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Whitworth (20-8) battled back from a nine-point halftime deficit as Menard scored 11 of his team’s 38 points in the second half, including a wing 3 with 21 seconds left that tied the game 59-59.

Menard is the team’s top long-range bomber with 74 treys and a 3-point shooting percentage of .394.

Whitworth coach Damion Jablonski called Menard’s number when it mattered most and the 2019 Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year dialed it in from downtown in the definition of a clutch.

Menard finished 4-of-9 from 3-point range and matched his season scoring average (15.9). He opened the second half with a 3 and added another trey four minutes later to get the Pirates of Spokane, Wash., within 34-31.

With his team trailing 56-54, Menard assisted on Jake Holtz’s layup that tied it with 2:12 to play. Moments later, Whitworth’s Garrett Long found Menard curling off a screen and the Alaskan took care of the rest for a stop-and-pop 22-footer.

Menard, of Colony High fame, needs two points to reach 800 points for his career.

He should get there today when Whitworth takes on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (22-6) in the second round at 5 p.m. AST.

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