Nixon lifts Hornets to win

Published 12:14 am Sunday, March 1, 2009

When things looked bleakest for Concordia, John Nixon put the Hornets on his back and led them to a 90-86 win over Pensacola Christian on Saturday.

Trailing 77-75 with 2:14 left in the contest, the freshman stepped up with a 3-pointer that gave Concordia its first lead since a Demetrius Fleetion 3-pointer put the Hornets ahead 57-55 at the 10:32 mark of the second half.

Nixon followed his momentum-swinging trey with one more to put Concordia ahead for good at 85-83 with 34 seconds left.

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“I like pressure,” said Nixon. “My teammates were all looking to me, saying, ‘John, we need a shot.’ I went out and hit it.”

He forced a turnover at the other end, and was rewarded with a trip to the free throw line for his effort.

After missing five shots from the charity stripe in the Hornets’ earlier loss to the Screaming Eagles, Nixon went 3-for-4 down the stretch to push the lead to 88-83 with 9.1 seconds left.

“As a leader, you expect him to step up,” said Concordia coach Shepherd Skanes. “John is one of the leaders of this team. He stepped up and took control.”

Marques Goetsch hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two with 3.9 seconds left, but a pair of Flection free throws secured the win.

The win was a relief for a Concordia team that struggled to a 10-19 record, and almost allowed a large, early lead to slip away.

Concordia used a 14-2 run sparked by a Nixon 3-pointer to take an early 20-8 lead. The Screaming Eagles responded with an 8-0 run to cut the lead to four, and opened the second half with a 7-0 run capped by a Ryan Scott steal and 3-point play to take their first lead at 38-36.

Nixon finished with 25 points, and was trailed by Fleetion (17), Zach Williams (16) and Justin Hill (12).

Goetsch led Pensacola with 21 points. Bryan Spears added 16.