Jeff James hit a foul shot with no time left on the clock Wednesday, giving Howard Community College an important conference victory, 62-61, at Frederick Community College.
The win improved the Dragons to 4-3 in conference play and 7-7 overall, already eclipsing the win total of last year's team, which finished 6-19.
The free throw by James, which was set up when he was fouled shooting a 3-pointer as time expired, capped off a game where HCC had built a double-digit lead in the second half before having to hold off a late Frederick charge.
With 27 seconds left in regulation Frederick pulled into a 61-61 tie, leaving the Dragons with the ball for one last possession. As time wound down, Andrew Moore (Hammond) found James (7 points) for the attempt from three that led to the eventual winning shot from the line.
"All year long we have had close games with exciting finishes full of drama," coach Mike Smelkinson said. "We have developed a nickname around campus called the 'Cardiac Kids'."
On the night, James Peters was the leader offensively for HCC. The Oakland Mills' graduate poured in 21 points, including a couple timely threes.
"James paced us the whole game with his consistency," Smelkinson said. "He was very calm and effective with his scoring when we needed baskets."
Aaron Bellamy (Howard) also chipped in with a strong game, scoring seven points from his guard position. On the season, Bellamy ranks fourth in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference in 3-point shooting percentage (48 percent).
The Dragons will be back in action on Saturday on the road against Baltimore City Community College, before coming back next week for three straight home games.