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Paul Danzer On College Hoops: Undersized guard with 3-point range 'shocked' to hear he had 74 points in OT win

COURTESY PHOTO: NORTHWEST CHRISTIAN ATHLETICS - Multnomah Lions guard Justin Martin goes up for a shot against Northwest Christian on his way to scoring an NAIA Division II-record 74 points.

Given some overtime work, Justin Martin outdid himself.

The senior guard at Multnomah University scored 74 points on Saturday in a 118-111 win at Northwest Christian. That established a scoring record for NAIA Division II men's basketball, topping the 71 points Martin scored in December 2018 against Warner Pacific.

"I felt good. I was in a zone," Martin said.

Indeed. That zone extended well beyond the 3-point arc on a number of attempts — including several that were 10 feet beyond the arc and others that were quick-release lasers over tight defending.

Martin scored 21 of Multnomah's 22 overtime points; he hit 3 of 4 3-pointers, a 15-foot jumper and 10 of 11 free throws in the OT.

"He just took over," Multnomah coach Curt Bickley said.

Bickley put the ball in Martin's hands and had his four teammates spread the floor. Once he shot the Lions into the lead, the Beacons were forced to foul and it was game-over.

Listed at 5-9 but actually a bit shorter, Martin is a wizard at using his dribble to create space to shoot. Bickley said nights like the one at NCU are a result of spending hours in the gym working on his game, teaching himself how to excel.

Why didn't the Beacons double-team Martin? On occasion, they tried. But Martin has three teammates shooting a higher percentage than his .397 rate from 3-point range, so it's a gamble to leave one of them to provide help.

Multnomah was down 13 with about four minutes left before Martin hit four consecutive 3's to close the gap. Teammates gave Martin the chance to go off in overtime after NCU led by six with 32 seconds left in the second half.

It took a Forrest Smith 3-pointer, three free throws from Zach Anderson and a tying 3 from freshman Jaeden Ingram after a Martin shot was blocked to get the game to OT. Ingram had 23 points and 13 rebounds.

"They made huge plays," Martin said.

Martin was "shocked" when told in the handshake line he'd scored 74.

"I had no clue," he said. "I was just trying to make winning plays."

The victory completed a sweep at Corban and NCU for the first time in Lions program history. Martin scored 40 in the Friday four-point win at Corban, despite shooting only 2 for 11 from 3-point range. That was Martin's first game since Dec. 17. He missed three games for personal reasons, according to Bickley.

The two wins breathed life into the Lions' season; Multnomah was 0-5 in Cascade Collegiate Conference play before the wins in Salem and Eugene. The Lions have played five of their first seven conference games on the road. With the next seven at home — five over nine days beginning Friday against Evergreen State — Bickley is hopeful his team can climb into the conference playoffs.

Whenever this season ends for MU, Bickley said he is confident Martin will get a shot at playing professionally somewhere in the world, given the numbers he's put up and the video library of his big games.

Bickley said he sees potential for Martin — once he's done marking his place in the record books — to continue to make his mark in basketball by turning the work he's put in to develop his own game into helping other players develop theirs.

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