EDWARDSVILLE — Armon Fletcher positioned himself perfectly. All the Edwardsville forward needed was an opportunity in case the ball fell off the rim.
Fletcher's tip-in at the buzzer gave the Tigers a thrilling 65-64 victory over East St. Louis Saturday night at Lucco-Jackson Gymnasium.
Fletcher, a junior who scored 11 points in the game, positioned himself at the basket with teammate Darius Crochrell.
Fletcher jumped high into the air and tipped home a miss of a Garret Covington fadeaway jumper with three seconds left and the Tigers (8-1, 4-1 in the Southwestern Conference) down by a point.
"I just really credit Garret for getting the shot up on the rim and for me to get that chance to tip it in," Fletcher said. "You win the game ... great feeling. I just tried touching it quick, get in there quick."
The Tigers saw a 10-point fourth quarter lead slip away and when the Flyers' Johnny McCray hit a pair of free throws with 15.4 seconds remaining East St. Louis (4-6, 2-3) had the lead for the first time since it led 16-15 in the first quarter.
East St. Louis clawed back into the contest after traveling overnight following a game in Indianapolis on Friday night.
"We did a lot of stuff right at the end of the game, but we did a lot of stuff wrong the first three quarters," said Flyers coach Tony Young, whose team has lost three conference games by a combined four points. "It comes back to bite you. I just told my guys I'm proud of the fight and I'm proud of the way they came and fought back and got us back in the game.
"But key stuff, simple things. Box out the rebound, don't reach, show your hand. A lot of little simple things."
Edwardsville, which got a game-high 19 points from Tre' Harris before the senior departed late in the third quarter with what coach Mike Waldo called a "bruised shoulder," also got 12 points from Shawn Roundtree and 10 from Covington.
The Tigers designed the final play to go to Covington, who along with Harris lead the team in scoring at 18 points per game. But Covington was defended well, and his fadeaway came from a tough angle. Fletcher was there along with Crochrell for the putback.
"Shawn made a good play to get Garret the ball," Waldo said. "I thought Garret made a good play to get it up on the rim. He ended up getting it in a bad spot, but he didn't have much choice. He was behind the backboard, but he had to shoot because we didn't have much time left. I thought Garret made a great play to get it on the rim. You have to give Armon a lot of credit for the way he battled in there, too."
The Flyers got a team-high 18 points from senior Deshawn Munson. Daniel Williams had 16, McCray had 15 and Travon McCray chipped in with 10.