The way Jonathan Baker had it going in the fourth quarter Friday night, all he needed was one clean attempt at the basket on Maryville's final possession and there's a good chance it was going in.
A patience-tested timeout and a block shot by Savannah's Zane Wilt on a Baker jumper with under 10 seconds left prevented that from happening in Maryville's 40-37 loss to the Savages on Winter Homecoming.
The timeout, which came 39 seconds into a stagnant possession, was called by head coach Mike Kuwitzky with 35 seconds left after Baker had just received a pass in the corner and was wheeling into a wide-open three to give the Hounds the lead. The shot rimmed out, but might have been affected by the whistle.
Kuwitzky said he never saw Baker pop free and wouldn't have called timeout if he had.
After the reset, Baker had to chase down a loose ball in the backcourt but got free again in the left corner for three.
This time, he elected to step in for a baseline jumper, and out of nowhere came Wilt for the rejection.
Baker gained control of the ball near the sideline, but stepped out of bounds, giving the Savages possession with 2.9 seconds left.
"I probably should've shot it the first time," said Baker who had 10 of his game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter. "I thought I'd take a dribble in and get a closer look. It was a bad decision on my part."
Inbounding from the side, Savannah completed a downcourt pass to an open Jessie Dickens for a layup at the buzzer, setting off the loudest ovation of many in an ultra-intense, pressure-filled game between the two MEC rivals.
Savannah packed its side of the bleachers, and its student section rushed on to the court in celebration at the game's dramatic conclusion.
"I think it was a lot of fun," said Savannah head coach Nick Kemerling. "It would've been a lot of fun to be part of as a spectator. It looked like it was a heck of a lot of fun to be part of as a player. It was loud."
Maryville had a four-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 12-4 on the season. Savannah improved to 6-9.
The Hounds won the previous matchup over Savannah 47-29 in the third place game of the Savannah Tournament, but the Savages were not at full strength at the time.
Nor did they have as much support behind them from the home crowd.
"They were charged up for Homecoming and they had a really great crowd," said Kuwitzky. "They're a lot better than they were and they caught us on a night where we weren't as good."
Maryville scored the opening basket of the game, but never held the lead at any point beyond that.
The Hounds faced as much as a 10-point deficit in the first half and nine in the second half before drawing even with Savannah at 31 in the fourth quarter.
Twice the Hounds had the ball with a chance to go in front and both times they came up empty. They also missed three potential game-tying shots in the final five minutes.
"Once we get that tie ball game, we can never seem to get the lead and that's a big thing," said Baker. "We fight our butts off trying to get back in the game. We did that. Now, we just got to take that next step and try to take the lead."
Maryville's offense sputtered most of the night, producing its lowest point total of the year.
The Hounds had scored at least 47 points in every game, including 50 or more in each of their last five.
Savannah used a 2-2-1 press and 2-3 zone defense the whole game, and the Hounds had very limited success attacking it. They finished with 18 turnovers and missed several open looks from long range.
For the game, the Hounds went 11-29 from the field and 12-14 at the foul line.
"We were prepared for the 2-2-1 and we were pretty prepared against a 2-3 zone," said Kuwitzky. "It's something we work on from time to time, but we see it so rarely and don't devote a lot of practice time to it. It's one of those things you need to be shooting well against it. You've got to not be in a hurry and turn it over. We were turning it over because we were in too much of a hurry."
Baker was Maryville's only double-digit scorer and produced all 10 of the team's fourth quarter points with two three's, a driving layup and two free throws.
His only miss was the shot that was blocked by Wilt.
Treyton Burch and Tyler Kenkel each scored six points, while Trent Nally chipped in five.
Savannah had no one in double-figures, but five players scored at least five points.
Zane Wilt had a team-high nine. Tyler Wilt, Bert Ernst and Austin Nolan each had seven followed by Dickens with five huge fourth quarter points.
The Savages were sharp as could be at the offensive end in the first quarter, making their first six shots.
They answered Maryville's opening basket with six straight points, the first four coming on backdoor layups.
A three-point play by Ernst with 27.5 seconds left in the quarter gave Savannah a 13-6 lead.
The Savage lead grew to 16-6 a little over a minute into the second quarter on a three by Austin Nolan.
Maryville scored the next four points on transition opportunities to get within six.
The Savages maintained a five to seven-point lead the rest of the quarter and went to the half up 24-17.
Maryville located some offensive rhythm in the third quarter, hitting each of its first three shots and four straight free throws.
Down 28-19, Maryville scored the next eight points and pulled within one on a pair of Kenkel free throws with 2:54 left.
The Hounds went scoreless the rest of the quarter, and Zane Wilt made a tough bank shot to put the Savages ahead 31-27.
Baker opened the fourth quarter with a driving bank shot and made two free throws with 6:44 left to pull the Hounds even at 31.
Maryville got the ball back on a block shot by Burch with a chance to take the lead, but turned it over.
Savannah promptly grabbed the lead back on a third-chance three-point play by Dickens to make it 34-31.
Baker hit a three that tied it back up at 34 two trips later.
Savannah answered right back with a bank shot from Zane Wilt go up 36-34.
On Maryville's next two possessions, Kenkel missed a layup and a short pull-up that would've tied the game.
Savannah missed its next shot, but while clearing the rebound, Maryville's Kyle Leslie was called for traveling.
Hound fans sternly disagreed with the call, feeling the violation was caused by contact.
The Savages took advantage of the extra opportunity, with Nolan getting free for a layup on an underneath inbounds to make it 38-34.
After a timeout by the Hounds, Baker popped off a baseline screen and stuck another three to make it 38-37 with 1:40 left.
Badly needing a stop, Maryville gave Savannah another second chance opportunity, but Nally atoned for it by taking a charge on Ernst that drew the ire of Savannah's crowd.
Maryville inbounded the ball with 1:14 left, looking for the first good shot available.
The only one the Hounds ended up with never got to the rim.