USAFA, Colo. — Demarcus Demonia helped the Texas A&M University-Commerce men's basketball team beat Air Force 73-69 in overtime for the Lions' first win in NCAA Division I.
The Lions have moved up from NCAA Division II to I and switched from the Lone Star Conference to the Southland Conference.
Demonia broke a 59-59 tie in regulation with a breakaway dunk and blocked the Falcons' game-tying shot on the other end with 39 seconds left. The Falcons were able to tie the game with seven seconds left.
Demonia slammed home another dunk to break a 69-69 tie in overtime to give the Lions a two-point lead. The Falcons missed the shot on the other end and CJ Roberts (Irving) made both free throws to secure the four-point win.
The Lions snapped a two-game losing streak to start the season, while the Falcons dropped to 1-2 on the season as well.
The Lions head east to Atlanta to participate in the Capitol Classic hosted by Georgia State this weekend. A&M-Commerce faces UNC Asheville on Friday at 8:30 p.m. eastern standard time, Georgia Southern at 7 p.m. EST on Saturday, and Eastern Kentucky on Sunday at 1 p.m. eastern standard time.A&M-Commerce was held scoreless for the first five minutes of the game for the second game in a row, but fought back to tie the game at five with 13:55 left in the first half. Demonia converted a four-point play at the 10:18 mark to give the Lions their first lead of the night. Demonia went 7-of-12 shooting from the field with four 3-pointers for 25 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block.
Kalen Williams tossed in 13 points for the Lions, who also collected 11 from C.J. Roberts, 9 from Alex Peavy, 6 from Jerome Brewer Jr., 4 from Luyka Vasic and Alonzo Dodd and 1 from Monyae Davis.
Jake Heidbreder led Air Force with 16 points, Jeffery Mills tossed in 13, Rytis Petraitis added 11 and Camden Vander Zwaag and Carter Murphy both added 8.
The Falcons had a lead as big as six in the first half, while a three pointer from Alex Peavy (San Antonio - Smithson Valley) with 32 seconds left in the first half gave the Lions a 31-26 lead and they were up 31-28 at halftime. Peavy totaled nine points, one assist, one steal, and one block.
To start the second half, the Lions scored seven of the first nine points to go up by eight and led by nine points with 18:03 left on a three pointer from Kalen Williams (Hephzibah, Ga.), who had 13 points, six rebounds, three assists, and a block in the game.
Roberts drilled a three pointer with 11:06 left to give the Lions' their largest lead of the game, 50-40. Air Force went on a 10-0 run to tie the game at 50 with 6:28 left. The lead for either team was not more than two points for the rest of regulation. Roberts finished with 11 points, three rebounds, and one steal.
With seven seconds left in regulation, Nikc Jackson dunked it in to the game. Jake Heidbreder began the overtime period with a three pointer and Rytis Petraitis hit another one at the 3:09 mark to give Air Force a 67-61 lead. Jerome Brewer, Jr. (Camden, N.J.) made a layup to bring the Falcons' lead down to four. Brewer, Jr. recorded six points, six rebounds, three assists off the bench.
The Lions tied the game at 67 on a driving layup by Williams and two free throws by Demonia. After a layup by Heidbreder at the 1:10 mark regained the 69-67 lead for Air Force, the Lions tied it at 69 on two free throws by Brewer, Jr. and Demonia took the lead for good with the monster dunk.
Monyae Davis (Young Men's Leadership Academy) made his first career start on Monday night. Alonzo Dodd (St. Paul, Minn.) and Luka Vasic (Pirot, Serbia) added four points each.