Mascoutah closed out the third quarter with a 9-0 run and got a combined 44 points from Malik Greene and Blake Weiss to help hold off the host Nashville Hornets in a 68-62 victory at the Nashville Invitational Tournament.
The win ended the Indians 12-game losing streak in the tournament; Mascoutah’s last win in the Nashville Invitational was a 50-47 victory over Freeburg on Jan. 17, 2013.
“I think it’s huge for us,” said Scott Oltmann, whose 9-9 squad had also lost its previous five games heading into the tournament. “This tournament is four really good games and there’s no guarantees out there. You’d better come ready to play — and play hard each evening.”
Greene, who finished with 23 points, scored eight points in the fourth quarter. So did Weiss, who finished with 21 while Glen Gibbons contributed 10 points.
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Mascoutah opened the second half with a 28-21 lead, then committed six straight turnovers as the Hornets (12-6) began cutting into the lead. Nashville seemed poised to take control after tying the game 35-35 late in the third quarter on a shot by Brogan Kemp, but the Indians answered quickly with a 9-0 run to close out the quarter.
I think it’s huge for us. This tournament is four really good games and there’s no guarantees out there.
Mascoutah coach Scott Oltmann
“We busted to catch up, I thought we had a lot of energy — which we should have displayed from the beginning —and caught up,” Nashville coach Brad Weathers said. “You’ve got to credit Mascoutah, they took advantage of a couple mistakes there late in the third (quarter) and converted on both of them, then they made their free throws the end.”
The Indians were 10-of-15 at the foul line in the fourth quarter.
The Indians shot well all night, hitting 10-of-19 shots in the first half and an exemplary 64 percent (23-of-36) in the game.
Nashville got 18 points from Bryson Bultman, 15 from Kemp, 14 from Ryan Brink and 10 from Hayden Heggemeier. The Hornets fell behind 49-37 early in the fourth quarter and crept to within three points twice.
The Hornets struggled from 3-point range for most of the night until sinking five threes in the fourth quarter to keep things close. Nashville hit just six of its 27 3-point tries (22 percent) in the game while forced to play from behind.
“We thought it was very important that we match their intensity as well as having a good start, which we did,” Oltmann said. “Once we were able to get the lead a little bit, I think we were able to relax. We figured out that we don’t have to shoot it right away all the time.”