LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS –
With 15 seconds left, small forward Tino Bailey hit a fade-away jumper to give Cryptologic Systems Group a six-point lead, all but securing their 45-39 victory over Navy Information Operations Command during the night game Jan. 8.
Bailey's shot ended a wild second half by both teams.
NIOC opened the second half with a 19-18 lead and built it up to a 34-26 lead before CPSG called a time-out.
CPSG responded quickly, as point guard Jay Windsor hit Bailey with a no-look pass from half court for an easy basket. Bailey and shooting guard Jeff Bruce led a 9-0 run with stifling defense and fast breaks to take a 35-34 lead with 5:43 left in the game.
"We know that we don't have a lot of height, so we deliberately try to slow the ball down, and we are patient," said Bruce. "The only thing we can do is constantly play defense. Then once we hit a couple of shots and we take the lead, we slow the ball down and teams are forced to play our tempo."
NIOC answered a minute later with a basket by point guard Cory Tidwell, taking the lead back with four minutes to go.
The teams traded scores back and forth until CPSG small forward Jarvis Gadet hit a 3-point shot with 90 seconds left to give his team a 40-39 lead over NIOC.
"That was part of our strategy with our shooters," Bruce said. "When you look at both teams, you would probably think we can't match up with NIOC, but we slowed the game down and made sure that every possession counted."
Gadet and Bailey both finished the game with 13 points and Bruce contributed 10 points and two steals.
NIOC power forward Will Lucas scored a team-high 10 points.
NIOC began the game scoring seven unanswered points, but were unable to maintain that intensity throughout the game.
"A lot of our guys are older guys so they know what to do in these situations, so we didn't panic when we were down a few points," Bruce said. "We are going to try to win a few more games and get into the playoffs."