Foster’s quick reaction and free throws give Hawks edge in completing GLVC road sweep

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LIBERTY, Mo. — The ball squirted away from Isaiah Foster at an unfortunate moment, but he refused to allow an opportunity to lift the Quincy University men’s basketball team to victory slip away.

The freshman point guard regained control of his miscue and was fouled in doing so, which allowed him to make two free throws with 27.7 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Hawks the lead in what eventually became a 67-66 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory over William Jewell at the Mabee Center.

“I almost lost it,” Foster said.

After catching a pass in the right corner and having his baseline drive taken away, Foster circled back to recycle the possession, but the ball caromed away. He quickly chased it down and was undercut by William Jewell’s Mason Alexander, leading to the foul and the free throws.

“He’s just quick,” QU coach Steve Hawkins said. “If he’s not as quick as he is, then he doesn’t get back to the ball. He’s just a lightning quick guard. He kind of took a spill in front of us, went down to a knee and almost lost it. Then jumped back up and ran and got it as they were coming to the ball.”

Sinking both free throws made it complete.

“That’s practice at that point, all the time spent at the free-throw line when nobody is watching and all the hours in the gym,” said Foster, who finished with three points, five rebounds and two assists. “You have to get up there and knock it down with confidence.”

That’s growing.

“Free throws had been kind of a bugaboo for him,” Hawkins said of the 64-percent free-throw shooter. “It was really good for him to be in that situation where he had to knock down free throws to put us ahead.”

Foster’s free throws made it a 64-63 lead. Malik Hardmon, the Hawks’ leading free-throw shooter at 86 percent, then made 3 of 4 from the charity stripe to extend the lead to four. William Jewell hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the final margin.

Hardmon led the Hawks with 21 points and seven rebounds, while freshman forward Mason Wujek had 10 points. Quincy (9-5, 5-1 GLVC) shot 47 percent from the floor and committed just seven turnovers, while defensively limiting William Jewell to 28-percent shooting from 3-point range.

It resulted in the first weekend GLVC road sweep since beating McKendree and Illinois-Springfield in January 2017.

“We’re really confident right now,” Foster said after the Hawks won their fifth straight game, the longest streak since the 2016-17 season. “Trusting in our work, trusting in Coach Hawk, trusting in each other. Our confidence is at a high level right now, but we have to stay even keel so we can stay high in the GLVC.”

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