GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Omaha Central saw in the fourth quarter why Colorado recruited Denver East's Dom Collier.
At the same time, what Tre'Shawn Thurman was doing for the Eagles was a good audition for more Division I offers.
Thurman scored nine of his team-high 26 points — including the basket that gave Central its margin of victory — down the stretch of a 68-65 win over the Angels in the marquee game of the seventh Heartland Hoops Classic.
Collier, a 6-foot-2 senior, scored 15 points in the fourth quarter as East (16-4) erased an 11-point deficit and took a brief two-point lead, but Central scored the final four points.
Rashad McCoy made two free throws with 52 seconds left for a 66-65 lead and Thurman went to the rim, drawing a defender off his feet, for a basket off an inbounds pass with 24 seconds left.
“I was supposed to catch it and take it back out,'' Thurman said. “But I wanted to ice it, make them do something more than just get a basket or a couple of free throws.''
Ronnie Harrell, the Angels' Creighton-bound 6-6 wingman, misfired on a 3-pointer with 9 seconds left and Central got the ball out of bounds.
The Eagles then had a turnover on the inbounds play, leaving East with 5.6 seconds left. Its inbounds pass went to Randall Jones cutting to the basket, not to the perimeter where Collier and Harrell were waiting, and Jones missed his first and only shot of the game.
“We didn't do the right things there,'' East coach Rudy Carey said.
Carey used only six players as the Angels were without starting center Tyre Robinson, a 6-6 senior who was averaging seven points and five rebounds, for disciplinary reasons.
“Thurman is a great player,'' Carey said. “But the guy we left behind would have been the one guarding him and we liked that matchup.”
Collier had a game-high 29 points on 8-of-15 shooting and 11 free throws. Harrell, who showed NBA-length range on his 3s, was 3 of 10 on 3s and 4 of 15 overall for 11 points.
Denver East's Jevon Griffin had two of his three 3s in the final quarter to finish with 13 points.
Thurman also was 8 of 15 in collecting his 26 points and was perfect in his seven free-throw attempts.
Central trailed only twice in the early stages of the game at the Heartland Events Center and led from 17-16 in the first quarter until Collier's run-out after a frontcourt steal gave East a 62-61 lead with 2:32 left.
In between, Top 10 No. 4 Central (18-3) had a nine-point lead twice in the second quarter and 11-point leads at the end of the third quarter at 51-40 and again at 54-43 on a basket by Reath Nyoach with 6:09 left in the game.
McCoy had 11 points and Malik Harris, a 6-6 senior, chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds.
“A game like this can do a lot for us,” Thurman said.
Denver East (16-4) .......................................... 16 13 11 25—65
Omaha Central (18-3) .......................................... 19 15 17 17—68
DE: Jordan Willis 2-4 1-4 5, Jevon Griffin 4-7 2-2 13, Brian Carey 2-10 2-2 7, Dom Collier 8-15 11-13 29, Ronnie Harrell 4-15 0-0 11, Randal Jones 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-52 16-21 65.
C: Malik Harris 4-6 2-2 10, Rashad McCoy 4-10 3-5 11, Jarek Coles 2-9 1-1 6, Austin McGaugh 2-7 2-4 8, Tre'Shawn Thurman 8-15 7-7 26, Reath Nyoach 3-7 1-4 7, Zay Turnbo 0-0 0-0 0, K'Zhan Jimmerson 0-0 0-0 0, Malik Sams 0-0 0-0 0, LaTreel Jameson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-54 16-23 68.
3-point goals: DE 9-25 (Griffin 3-4, Carey 1-4, Collier 2-7, Harrell 3-10), C 6-17 (McCoy 0-2, Coles 1-5, McGaugh 2-3, Thurman 3-6, Nyoach 0-1). Total fouls: DE 17, C 16. Fouled out: Coles. Technicals: none. Turnovers: DE 13, C 8. Rebounds: DE 34 (Harrell 11), C 35 (Harris, Thurman 9). Field-goal percentage: DE .407, C .459. Free-throw percentage: DE .762, C .696. Officials: Kurt Hinrichs, Kevin Koch, Jake Wolf.