In front of the Kruse Center crowd in Brenham, Texas, the Buccaneers took the lead for good in the final two minutes of play and held on to improve to 12-6 overall and 6-2 in the Region XIV South Zone. 

“That was a big game because both teams were 5-2 in the South coming in, and I thought our players answered the call and played really well at the end,” Blinn head coach Scott Schumacher said. “That was a great junior college game and I’m just so happy for our guys. I always thought we were a good basketball team; we’ve had a couple of tough losses, but I believe we’re a good basketball team and I believe in my guys.”

Coastal Bend tied the game at 77-all with a single free throw with 2:26 to play, but the Bucs seized the lead for good seconds later when a missed Blinn shot bounced toward sophomore guard Damian Watson and freshman forward Jamine Charles. The Blinn duo simultaneously leaped for a put-back attempt, colliding with each other in the process, and the ball miraculously found its way back to the basket for a 79-77 edge.

“It was my bucket,” Charles joked after the game with Watson smiling by his side. “We were just happy to do our part, though. We had to step up in that second half and we did what we needed to do to win the game.”

Charles scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half, while Watson posted eight second-half points and ended with 10.

Sophomore guard Elijah Elliott dominated the first half for Blinn, tallying 21 of his team-high 25 points in the first 20 minutes.

With the Cougar defense closing in on Elliott after the intermission, Watson said it was the Bucs’ responsibility to supplement their offense.

“I felt like myself and the rest of my teammates had to step up to the table and do what we could to put the ball in the basket,” Watson stated. “In those tough moments, it’s about being a team player and doing everything you can to help the team.”

(Pictured: Blinn sophomore guard Damian Watson, center, looks for a passing lane during a game against Coastal Bend on Jan. 14)

Blinn 48-44 at the break but trailed 55-52 early in the second half.

The teams continued to go back-and-forth until the Bucs built a 75-68 cushion on a hook shot from sophomore forward Alex Tsynkevich, but Coastal Bend roared back with a 9-2 run to tie it up.

Following Blinn’s decisive putback, Elliott added a contested jumper with 35 seconds to go, and after the Cougars went 1 for 2 at the free throw line, sophomore guard Marco Foster sank two free throws to ice it.

The Bucs travel to Victoria College for a Region XIV tilt at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18, in Victoria, Texas.