Stillman College

Stillman College knocks off top 15 NAIA team in OT

Stillman College got a huge offensive effort from two players and took down the no. 14th ranked program in NAIA basketball.

Courtesy: Stillman College Athletics

By Chris Megginson

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Bailey Talley and Khalil Johnson combined for 62 points and 30 rebounds Thursday night as Stillman College took down the defending NAIA Men’s Basketball National Champions, No. 14 Loyola University, 103-95, in double overtime. The win came in front of a loud crowd on Greek Night in Birthright Alumni Hall. 

Johnson sniped seven 3-pointers and finished with 32 points to lead all players, while Talley came off the bench to score 30 points, snag 21 rebounds and block three shots. It is the first time in the current Stillman men’s basketball NAIA era to have two players score 30 points on the same night. 

The biggest three of the night for Johnson may have been the one with 49 seconds left in double overtime to give Stillman a 97-92 lead. 

He blocked a shot on defense to set up the possession. On the next defensive possession, Talley swatted his third block of the game, which helped lead to a dunk on the other end of the floor to cap the stat line by the junior from Covington, Louisiana. 

Stillman College closed the game on an 11-3 run in the final 2:21 of action. 

The Tigers exceeded their goal of 50 rebounds in a game, logging 53 boards to Loyola’s 34. Talley’s 21 boards were not only a lifetime high, but pass Leon Hampton (19 rebounds vs Rust College, Dec. 2018) for the most by a Stillman Tiger in the program’s modern NAIA era. 

The game was tested throughout, with 21 ties and 17 lead changes in 50 minutes of action. Loyola led at the half, 42-41, helped in part by 14 free throw attempts, compared to the Tigers’ three. Talley led the Tigers with 11 first-half points to counter Jalen Galloway’s 14 for Loyola. 

Coming out of halftime, Johnson hit a 3 to answer a basket by Galloway and tie the game, 44-44. Marcus Bates Jr then hit a layup to give Stillman a 46-44 lead. The Tigers did not give up their lead again, despite several ties down the stretch. With 7:39 to play in regulation, Stillman posted its largest lead of the night, 76-65, as Devin Merriweather jumped out of his left New Balance shoe while hitting a fadeaway for the Tigers’ 11-point lead. Loyola chipped away to work the game even, 84-84, on a made layup and free throw by Matthew Mondesir with 57 seconds left in regulation. 

In the first overtime, Johnson hit three free throws and a 3-pointer to give Stillman a 90-84 lead, but Loyola fought back with a pair of 3s by Michael Harden. Neither team could break the tie in the final 43 seconds with Harden missing a jumper at the buzzer to send the game to a second OT. 

The double 30-point performance is the first for Stillman College since at least its NCAA days. The closest in the current NAIA era was when Merriweather scored 29 to go along with Trey Petty’s 35 points during a 2021 win over Blue Mountain College. 

Galloway finished the game with 26 points to lead Loyola, while Harden scored 23. 

The Tigers also won the game at the free throw line, hitting 21-of-24 attempts. Loyola made only 14-of-23, including 4-of-9 in the final 30 minutes of action. 

With two games to play, Stillman (15-11, 11-7) returns to a tie for third position in the SSAC standings after losses by the University of Mobile and Dalton State College on Thursday. The Tigers will travel to No. 17 Faulkner University on Tuesday, Feb. 14 for a 7:30 p.m. tip, before closing out the regular season at home Saturday, Feb. 18 for Homecoming against Talladega College. 

Stillman College knocks off top 15 NAIA team in OT
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