New Orleans, LA – Celebrating homecoming, the Dillard Bleu Devils took two overtime periods to put the Tornadoes of Talladega away with a 104-99 victory, for their first win of the season Saturday night at Dent Gym. Mico Sjekloca led all DU scorers with his first double-double of the season, 22 points and 11 rebounds.
In first half action, the two teams seesawed early on and, by the six minute mark, Dillard was up by 10 (34-24) after a three-pointer by Cornice Wingate. However, the Bleu Devils watched that lead dwindle down and disappear as a buzzer beater by Talladega’s Micah Hagens sailed through the net for three points as time ran out to end the half 40-38. The Tornadoes went .600 from beyond the arc, shooting 6 of 10, and .500 inside the perimeter hitting 14 of 28 field goals.
Talladega didn’t cool off during halftime and led the entire second half of the game with Dillard tying them twice – less than a minute into the half (40-40) and at the end, to send the game into overtime tied at 76 all. In the first extra period, James Burkes and Autrail Manning paced DU, but back to back turnovers by the pair resulted in a second tie, 86-86, requiring an additional overtime period. The Bleu Devils gave more of a team effort in the second overtime, with multiple scorers getting into the mix. By 2:33, two free throws by Burkes gave Dillard a nine-point lead – its biggest during the extra periods. Down the stretch, Wingate shot 5 of 6 from the charity stripe to seal the win.
Burkes finished with 22 points and eight rebounds. Sjekloca also led the team defensively with four steals and two blocks. Other players in double figures included Wingate (16), Manning (15) and DeCarlos Riley had 12 with a team-high seven assists. Kiwan Smith paced Talladega with 22 points and 10 boards.
Dillard (1-3) will be idle for the remainder of the month, picking up its schedule on December 12 when the Bleu Devils travel to Columbus, Ga., to take on the Columbus State Cougars for the second time this season. The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.