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JANUARY 18, 2004 -- Dominic Joshua hit a fadaway 15-footer as the shotclock went off with 7 seconds remaining to help #1 Prime Time clip the #4 Big Dawgs, 94-88. But Prime Time's MVP tonight was Clint Nadine, who scored all of the 10 Prime Time points prior to Joshua's game-winner. With the score 88-86, Nadine surgically made his way through the Big Dawgs' defense to hit a left-handed layup. The Big Dawgs' Jimmy Noriega then came down the court, penetrated into the middle of the lane, and drew a foul on Prime Time's Johnny Qura, narrowly missing the field goal. Noriega hit both free throws to cut the lead to 90-88 with under a minute left.
On the ensuing possession, Prime Time burned up the entire shotclock, only to launch a desperation 25-footer that air balled. The Big Dawgs got the ball back trailing by two with only about 40 seconds left, but Kris Kalstrom's entry pass to Mark Smith went straight off Smith's foot and out of bounds. The Big Dawgs called their last timeout with 31 seconds to play and one defensive stop needed. The situation became eerily similar to last week's Big Dawgs' loss at the hands of the #5 Beacon Ballers, when a timeout had been called to setup defensively after a separate costly mistake by Kalstrom. In both games, the Big Dawgs found themselves playing catchup in the waning moments.
Prime Time once again wound down the clock and with just 12 seconds to go and 5 seconds on the shotclock, they had the ball out of bounds underneath their own basket. The ball went into Nadine who dished off to Joshua. Nadine tried to set a pick while doing so, but whether or not he did, Joshua faded away and launched from the left-hand angle, swishing the shot and putting the game out of range, 92-88, with just 0:05 to go. Without any timeouts, the Big Dawgs missed a desperation three that would not have made any difference. In retrospect, the Big Dawgs probably should have saved that last NBA timeout to advance the ball to halfcourt after Joshua's field goal, then foul and hope for a missed free throw to come back with one last three-pointer. In any case, the two timeouts burned prior to that were needed by the Big Dawgs during droughts when the Prime Time lead got to 7 points and beyond.
Nadine, determined to advance his team through the Losers Bracket, scored 18 points in the 4th quarter alone. He finished with a game-high 36 points, along with the usual stat-stuffing line of 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 6 steals against only 3 turnovers. Barry Hodge added 26 points for Prime Time on 6-for-14 from downtown. Joshua tallied 14 points and 8 assists, with a strong 8-point 3rd quarter that helped leave Prime Time with only a 62-60 deficit entering the 4th.
Smith almost ended the season with a triple-double, totaling 35 points, 9 rebounds, and 11 assists in defeat. Joshua held Noriega to 10 points, 3 assists, and 5 turnovers, although Noriega had no turnovers in the 2nd half. Brent Wyse added 15 points, 12 rebounds and Manish Nandani scored 18 points and grabbed 8 boards. The Big Dawgs, last year's runner-up, had only 5 players and sorely missed the outside shooting of Scott Darmstadt and the defensive presence of Greg Krohner.