STAY CONNECTED:Â FacebookÂ |Â TwitterÂ |Â InstagramÂ |Â YouTube
BE THE FIRST TO KNOW:Â Text & Email Alerts
DOWNLOAD OUR APPS:Â iOS (iPhone/iPad)Â |Â Android
COLUMBIA, Ky. — A game of runs ended with the host Blue Raiders regaining control of the game in the waning minutes as the Mustangs fell on day one of the Lindsey Wilson College Thanksgiving Classic, 67-59, in Columbia, Ky. on Friday (Nov. 27). The final run for the Blue Raiders â a 12-3 game-closing burst â allowed the hosts to escape with the win after the Green and Gold took their first lead of the game in the late stages of the contest behind a thrilling comeback.
The Mustangs fall to 1-9 with the season already a third of the way complete after suffering the hard-fought defeat to the Blue Raiders â a NAIA Division I team that improved to 6-2 on the campaign with an opening-night win at their own holiday classic.
The game was all Blue Raiders early on as the hosts jumped out to a 10-0 lead before the Mustangs finally found the bottom of the net at the 15:21 mark of the first half on an Elijah Ingram (Detroit, Mich./Consortium High School) bucket. The Blue Raiders answered, pushing ahead19-2 before Ingram led the Mustangs on a first-half tear.
Ingram tallied nine of his team-leading 11 first-half points as part of a 17-2 burst that brought the Mustangs back to within two, 21-19, with eight minutes remaining before halftime. After the team’s exchanged buckets in the paint, the Mustangs went cold from the field, only scoring two more points over the final five minutes of the first half as the Blue Raiders took a commanding 47-23 lead at the break.
The Blue Raiders 24-point halftime lead was a product of a 24-2 run to close the half as the hosts shot 50-percent from the floor (19-of-38) compared to the Mustangs 25-percent clip (8-of-32). Rebounding played a big factor in the first half as the Blue Raiders limited the Mustangs possessions by taking a 30-14 edge on the glass in the halftime break.
Sophomore center Sirafino Davis (Flint, Mich./Tiffin University) was a force in the paint in the first half, recording five blocks as the Blue Raiders ran into one of the top shot-blockers in the NAIA on top of his game.
Sophomore guard Kenneth Miller (Flint, Mich./Grand Blanc High School) and Ingram combined for a 10-0 run to begin the second half, equaling the Blue Raiders’ effort at the beginning of the game as the Green and Gold started to climb back into the contest. Ingram later connected for three of his team-high 20 points to cut the deficit to 10 points, 49-39, with 13:19 remaining, forcing a Blue Raiders timeout in the process.
The second half surge continued for the Mustangs as sophomore guard Tyler Sykes (Sterling Heights, Mich./Stevenson High School) caught fire, posting 16 points in the latter stanza â none more important than a three-pointer with 3:19 remaining to give the Mustangs their first lead of the game.
Leading 56-55, the Mustangs capped off a thrilling comeback by locking down on the defensive end to hold the Blue Raiders to eight points over the first 16-plus minutes of action in the second half. Sykes and the Mustangs outscored the Blue Raiders 33-8 over the opening 16:41 of the second half, stunning the home crowd before the host Blue Raiders regained control.
After a few possessions stalled out for the Mustangs, the Blue Raiders were able to regain the lead and escape with a 67-59 victory after getting the last laugh by closing out the game on a 12-3 run.
Ingram’s 20 points led the Mustangs in the hard-fought battle, followed by 16 points from Sykes. Senior guard Diante Taylor (Battle Creek, Mich./Central High School) checked in with 10 points to round out the double-digit scorers for the Mustangs while Davis ended the night by getting credit for six blocks. The defensive-minded center now has 32 blocks on the season, extending his NAIA Division II best by six total blocks over the second-place individual in the country.
The Blue Raiders were led by Bryan Wallace with a game-high 22 points.
The Mustangs return to the floor Saturday (Nov. 28) to close out action in Kentucky with a 3 p.m. ET tilt against NAIA Division I No. 18Â Campbellsville (6-2). The game will be streamed live on the Lindsey Wilson Sports Network beginning at 2:45 p.m.
MEN’S BASKETBALL CONTACT: Tim Johnston |Â [emailÂ protected]/* */Â |Â @tjohnston56
MARYGROVE BROADCASTS:Â The Mustang Sports Network (MSN)Â |Â MSN Twitter
MEN’S BASKETBALL:Â Twitter
Category: Men's Basketball