This time, the Owls were up 10 with 17 minutes remaining. Eight minutes later, they trailed by eight.
"It was like, 'Here we go again,' " senior Mark Tyndale said. "We would have had a horrible Thanksgiving."
Turns out, the stuffing will taste just fine. Because this time the Owls wound up winning in overtime, 73-69. Their season wouldn't have ended if they had not won, but it will sure make for a better plane ride home today.
"We did what we didn't do the first two nights," said Tyndale, who had a game-high 23 points, mostly by making 13 of 14 free throws, including nine in a row in the closing 5 minutes, 20 seconds of regulation. "We should have been in the championship game. Unfortunately, we did a bad job of closing it out."
That's one way of putting it.
"You never get that out of your system," he continued, "until you step on the floor for the next game. People were leaving me voice mails on my phone. The worst was from my father. He said, 'You have to step up, man. You're the leader, the senior. You have to put the team on your back.' "
Somebody had to. The Owls (1-3), who are at Bowling Green on Saturday, made one field goal in the final 14 minutes of regulation. But it was huge, a drive by Luis Guzman at 1:53 on which he drew a foul and turned into a three-point play to pull the Owls within 58-56.
Twenty seconds later, Tyndale made a pair at the line to tie it. He untied it by converting two more with 42 seconds left. Marist retied it at 22 seconds, on a layup by Ryan Stilphen. Tyndale had a chance to win it at the end, just as he had a chance to force overtime on Thursday against Providence. And once again he threw up a 10-foot runner, this time from the left side of the lane. On Thursday, he at least got some rim. This found nothing but air.
In the extra 5 minutes there would be two lead changes and a tie, which Marist forced at 67 with a little under 2 minutes to go. The Owls, who scored on their last six possessions, then went ahead for keeps on a wing trey by Ryan Brooks. Two freebies by Dionte Christmas at 26 seconds tucked it away.
"We certainly needed [a win], but even if we hadn't pulled it out, I see some good things on the horizon," said coach Fran Dunphy, who took his squad to a rain forest on Saturday. "Over the course of the other games as well. I think we're coming together as a better team. That being said, we were in deep trouble. So for us, it was welcome."
Christmas had 15 points, Brooks 10. Freshman Lavoy Allen picked up only one foul in 39 minutes, and made seven of nine shots, but Dunphy wasn't happy about his three rebounds. Semaj Inge, who played so well on Thursday, had three quick turnovers and played 6 minutes. Sergio Olmos had four of his five blocks by halftime.
The Red Foxes (1-3) got 18 points on 17 shots from Syracuse transfer Louie McCroskey, who was making his debut after serving a suspension for violating team rules.
"Everyone looks up to me," Tyndale said. "They follow my lead, I honestly think so. I have problems sometimes with losing focus. I'm working on it. You just try to stay positive, make something happen and pay attention to detail."
Speaking of which, what's the scouting report on that rain forest . . . ?
"It was different," was all Tyndale would say, as he grinned and shook his head.
So was this ending. Whatever works. *