SYCAMORE – For most of Tuesday's Interstate 8 contest between Sycamore and Ottawa, the Pirates had no answer on either end of the floor.
In the fourth quarter, Myles Tucker and the Pirates turned the tables on the Spartans.
Sycamore led by as much as 16 in the second half and 14 in the fourth quarter, but Ottawa closed scoring 23 of the last 30 points for a 63-60 win.
"They're a good team, we knew that coming in that we'd have to play well if we wanted to win," Sycamore coach Andrew Stacy said. "We did that for three quarters of the game but we just couldn't stop (Tucker). He's good in the paint and was a difference maker tonight."
Stacy said the team played too frantic in the fourth quarter, in which they were outscored 29-14.
"I think part of it we were getting rushed instead of being patient," Stacy said. "We had a couple travels and errant passes. I think maybe we got flustered a little bit as they were making their run, then got frustranted trying to make something happen and it came to backfire."
Tucker scored 37 in the game for the Pirates (8-5 overall, 3-1 conference). He scored five points in the first 70 seconds, but didn't score again in the second half as Sycamore took a 28-19 lead into the break.
Tucker scored all 15 of the Pirates' points in the third quarter, but the Sycamore offense was still answering and pushed the lead to as much as 44-28 after an Xavier Gagnepain layup with 3:00 left in the third.
"Myles has been injured and has missed a good portion of the season," Ottawa coach Mark Cooper said. "He's just been struggling to get healthy enough to play like he's capable of. Tonight looked like the first time, since opening night, he had some of his explosiveness back. Obviously he did a lot of good things and was the dominant player in the game."
After Jackson Johnson hit a jumper with 6:58 left, the Sycamore lead grew to 50-37.
But Tucker started a quick 9-0 run for the Pirates and closed it with a dunk with 3:52 left, cutting the lead to 53-39. Grant McConkey hit a 3-pointer with 3:29 left, but Tucker scored the game's next eight points to give Ottawa it's first lead since the first quarter. They wouldn't give it back.
"They were able to spread the floor and he had lanes to drive," Stacy said. "And they were able to capitalize on that."
Sycamore had a chance to tie the game late after Lukas Overhaug stole and inbounds pass with 4.7 seconds left and the Spartans down 3. He kicked it out to Grant McConkey, who backed up and tried a tying 3-pointer that missed.
"If we shoot free throws coming down the other end there it's over," Cooper said. "But they get the ball, get a shot fake, get a clean look and missed it." Cooper said. "Obviously it wasn't what we wanted but we dodged a bullet."
Cooper said he was impressed with how his team battle back, especially after losing starter Zach Vogel in the first half – the Pirates were already down starter T.J. McDonnell entering the game.
"It was about over and somehow we dug deep down inside and found the necessary energy and fight to give us a chance," Cooper said. "Then it just seemed like the last four minutes, it was just a matter of did we have enough time. We were coming and we were coming we did a lot of good things."
By the numbers: Johnson scored 13 and had nine rebounds for Sycamore, Gagnepain scored 12 and had 12 rebounds, while McConkey had 13 points and six assists. Drew Kaufman had 17 for the Pirates as he and Tucker were the only Ottawa players with a field goal in the win.
Beyond the stats: Sycamore shot 4 of 13 in the fourth quarter after shooting 21 of 39 in the first three quarters.
They said it: "We were down one starter coming in and lost another one early," Cooper said. "We were on the ropes. We started scoring but we weren't getting any stops. Then we got a couple stops and some good things happened and we found a way to get a quality road win."
Up next: Sycamore is at Morris Friday while Ottawa hosts Rochelle.
"We showed we're a pretty good team when we're taking care of the basketball and defending," Stacy said. "We've got to be more consitent and do it over 32 mionutes. We had lapses in the seond half obviously and as a result let a good team back in the game. We jsut have to do a better job finishing games and playing every possession like it was the last."