By Luke Blount
On December 17, 1988 the Baylor Bears wouldn't give up. It took four overtimes and 60 minutes of basketball, but the Bears were able defeat North Texas 96-95 for the second win in the newly built Ferrell Center.
"We were out of the game three different times," said Baylor head coach Gene Iba. "We did a lot of things poorly, but we had enough heart to win the game."
The Bears held a seven point advantage with less than five minutes remaining in regulation, but slowly allowed the Mean Green to fight their way back. Holding a 70-69 lead with 16 seconds remaining, the Bears fouled guard Deon Hunter, and he made both of his free throws to take a 71-70 North Texas lead.
Then, with time winding down, Baylor's Donnell Hayden made his way to the free throw line. He made the first, but failed on his next attempt after a North Texas timeout, sending the game into overtime.
The Bears quickly fell behind in the extra period before Michael Hobbs nailed a game-tying 3-pointer with seven seconds remaining. It was the first 3-point field goal of the game for the Bears.
"Though we are a struggling team, we showed a lot of guts," Hobbs said. "I'm just proud of the whole team."
In the second overtime, the Bears fell behind once again, but Hobbs grabbed a rebound and made a jumper to tie the game at 83. Guard Ricky Robertson had a chance to win it for the Mean Green, but failed on his free throw attempt, sending the game into triple overtime.
In the third extra period, Baylor looked to hold onto a three point advantage, but this time, North Texas sunk the clutch 3-pointer to tie the game up. Both teams missed opportunities to win the game in closing minute.
Baylor once again took the lead in the final overtime, 94-92, but Deon Hunter drained his third 3-pointer to take a 95-94 lead with just over one minute left. Deon Hunter once again attempted a 3-pointer as time wound down, but Baylor's Joey Fatta came up with the rebound and handed the ball to Hayden who threw a perfect pass to a streaking Hobbs for a game-winning layup. With six seconds left on the clock, North Texas attempted a desperation three, but came up short.
"You lose these kind, you're exhausted," said North Texas head coach Jimmy Gales. "You win them, you're exhilarated."
Hayden finished with 25 points in a breakout performance while Hobbs added 20 points, and Fatta pitched in with 24 rebounds even though he had the flu. The game was the longest in Baylor history and only the third four overtime game in the history of the SWC. Three starters for each team fouled out. Fatta and Melvin Hunt each played over 50 minutes.
"If we had one more overtime, I don't know who would have played," Hayden said.
Coming off their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 38 years and entering into the brand new Ferrell Center, the Bears finished the 1988-89 season a disappointing 5-22. Struggling with young talent and NCAA probation, the Bears went 1-15 in conference, losing Hayden and Hobbs midseason after frustrations mounted between the two and coach Iba.