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Thiel basketball still buzzing after finishing 4OT win with 4 players

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Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, 10:48 p.m.

The basketball game started with a small gathering of 250 people filling about half of Beeghly Gymnasium at Thiel College.

Then, Thiel and St. Vincent started to score points at a near-record pace Wednesday night, and word got around the tiny campus in Greenville that something special was happening in the gym.

When Thiel coach Tim Loomis looked up in the fourth overtime, the crowd had doubled, but the number of players on the floor had dwindled by one. Thiel played the final 2:38 of the fourth overtime with four players against five, but beat the defending Presidents' Athletic Conference champion, anyway, 124-121.

“It was a nice win for the kids,” Loomis said. “They really worked for it.”

Thiel dressed 11 players, but seven fouled out, setting a Division III record. Overall, a record-tying 11 players fouled out after officials called 90 fouls.

The game was played at the same time and only 76 miles from Cleveland where the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers had no bench players remaining after Robert Sacre fouled out with 3:32 left. NBA rules don't permit a team to play with four, so the Lakers accepted a technical foul, Sacre stayed in the game, and the Lakers beat the Cavaliers, 119-108.

Thiel's game was the second-highest scoring game in PAC history, and the 124 free-throw attempts set another Division III record.

The Tomcats (8-10, 5-7) hit 35 of 46, scoring seven of nine points on free throws after falling behind, 116-115, with 1:33 left.

St. Vincent (17-3, 10-1) suffered its first conference loss despite sinking 55 of 78 free throws.

St. Vincent's Dillon Stith scored 50 points. It was the first time in 30 years a PAC player recorded that many points, with 26 coming from the foul line.

Loomis, a former Cal (Pa.) head coach and Penn State assistant, said it was the third time in his 25-year career he was forced to finish a game with fewer than five players. He won two of them, including a freshman game at Cal in the late 1970s when legendary coach Eddie McCluskey taught him a 1-3 zone.

Asked if he planned to give his players Thursday off or, perhaps, take it easy at practice, he said, “That probably won't happen. No days off. I'm still an old-timer.”

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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