FORT BENNING, Ga. - With less than a minute remaining in the game, the Road Dawgs pulled to within one point of the Rangers, but last-second free throws saved the Rangers' 43-40 win Tuesday in the winners bracket quarterfinals of the Commander's Cup preseason basketball tournament at Smith Fitness Center.

The Rangers got off to a quick start, and led 23-12 at the half.

The Road Dawgs stepped up their defensive tempo in the second half, holding the Rangers' offense and closing the gap to 37-32 with three minutes to go in the final half. Road Dawg Shannon Jones scored two baskets and a free throw to close the gap to 39-37 with less than two minutes remaining. Ranger Ben Boyd answered with a basket, while Road Dawg Jason Pitman scored a three-pointer to put Rangers in the lead 41-40.

As the clock ticked away, Markal Clark scored a free throw at the 29-second mark and scored another free throw with one second remaining to seal the 43-40 win.

"It was a close game," said Joel Burzynski, Rangers coach. "We had a pretty good lead in the first half, but got a little relaxed in the second half and realized we couldn't do that with a team like this (Road Dawgs). Our team played hard."

Boyd, a forward who was the highest scorer on his team with 17 points, said he was a little nervous toward the end of the game because it was so close.

"They started their full court press on us and started speeding the game up a little bit in the second half and we were having a hard time getting the ball forward easily," he said. "Even though they changed their plan, we were able to adapt to it."

Rangers' Clark, a point guard, said the team won because they were able to maintain a strong defense and successfully score free throws.

In 2008, the Rangers lost in the first round of the playoffs and want to go all the way this year and take the title, Burzynski said.

"If we work hard, I think we can win it," he said.

The Rangers took on the 2nd Battalion, 19th Inf. Regt., Thursday in the winners bracket semifinals.

Scoring: Rangers: Boyd 17, Clark 15, Schmitz 4, Smith 3, Lowery 2, Roth 2. Road Dawgs: Jones 15, Gumm 12, Pitman 9, Williams 3, Collins 1.

Commander's Cup preseason intramural basketball tournament results

Winners bracket
Round two:
CRC - 34, WTB - 33
2nd Battalion, 19th Inf. Regt. - 2, HHC MCOE - 0
75th Ranger Regt.- 43, 104th Trans. Co. - 40
A Co., 2nd Bn., 29th Inf. Regt.- 45, MEDDAC Team One - 36
11th Eng. Bn. - 43, CRC - 38

Losers bracket
Round one:
330th Inf. Regt. Team Four - 41, F Co., 2nd Bn., 54th Inf. Regt. - 32
HHC 13th CSSB - 39, MEDDAC Team Two - 31
E Co., 30th AG - 36, 192nd Inf. Bde. - 34
1st Bn., 50th Inf. Regt. - 55, FSC 11th Engineer Bn. - 46
E Co. 2nd Bn., 47th Inf. Regt. - 41, WTB - 38
Round two:
F Co., 2nd Bn., 54th Inf. Regt. - 36, HHC 13th CSSB - 33
1st Bn., 19th Inf. Regt. - 43, 1st Bn., 50th Inf. Regt. - 35
E Co. 2nd Bn., 47th Inf. Regt. - 42, 330th Inf. Regt. Team One - 38
E Co., 30th AG - 2, E Co. 1st Bn. (Airborne), 507th Parachute Inf. Regt. - 0
Round three:
CRC - 53, F Co., 2nd Bn., 54th Inf. Regt. - 41
MEDDAC Team One -54, E Co., 39th AG - 31
E Co. 2nd Bn., 47th Inf. Bn. - 2, HHC MCOE - 0