When Noble Moore lines up a shot, people associated with Delaware basketball — coaches, players and fans — have a feeling he’s going to make it … which is exactly what he did Tuesday in Dublin.
After a back-and-fourth battle, with Hayes down 59-56 in the waning seconds, Moore validated that faith, and then some, splashing a corner three off a pass from a driving Phil Frentsos to send the game into overtime — a session the Pacers won 11-7 to secure a thrilling 70-66 non-league win over the Celtics of Dublin Jerome.
“Noble has been starting for us since he was 14,” Hayes coach Jordan Blackburn said, “so he has a lot of poise. He is confident in himself and we are confident in him. I feel as though he’s going to make every shot he takes. He works on his game a lot and it all starts with his belief in himself.”
The Pacers (10-3), who had trouble taking care of the ball during regulation, sealed the deal with a flawless extra session.
The hosts opened the OT with a hoop, but Moore came back down the floor and did what he does best: shoot. To the surprise of no one on the Pacers’ sideline, the junior drilled a deep three to put his team on top.
Senior Tyler Treese nailed a three after Hayes got a stop on the other end to balloon the lead even further, and senior post Gaige Linville took care of the rest, calmly converting four consecutive free throws, all in pressure packed one-and-one situations, to smooth out the scoring summary. Linville’s first two came after he was fouled down low while his second two stemmed from a well-earned offensive rebound with 11.2 seconds left.
Linville was a perfect 6-6 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter and overtime while Jordan Hecker made a game-changing play of his own, drawing a charge with Hayes up one with 1:15 to play in overtime.
“I think good teams can find ways to win ugly,” Blackburn said. “We deserve criticism for not taking care of the ball, but when we needed a play we made it. We took care of the ball down the stretch and sequenced together several game-winning plays.”
The Pacers’ turnover troubles hurt them early, having a hand in early deficits. They trailed 16-13 after the first quarter and 32-30 at the break. Hayes took the lead by the end of three, outscoring Jerome 14-8, but the Celtics stormed out of the gate in the fourth, putting together a 19-8 run before Moore’s late heroics swung the momentum back in the Pacers’ favor.
Khalil Iverson led Hayes with 19 points and 12 rebounds while Moore finished with 12 points on four threes to go with two rebounds and a pair of assists. Treese, meanwhile, closed with nine points and a team-best eight assists while Linville finished with five boards and six points thanks to his clutch showing from the line.