Posted: Dec 1, 2012 7:00 PM
ST. LOUIS -- Cedric Ridle made nine of his 14 shot attempts to put in a game-high 26 points, but the Lincoln men's basketball team fell to Missouri-St. Louis, 81-71, on Saturday afternoon. The Blue Tigers led with 8:36 to play in the game, but UMSL (5-1) pulled away late to hand Lincoln (1-7) the loss.
Ridle, who grabbed three rebounds and had an assist, was one of three Blue Tigers to finish with double-digit points, joining Shakir Preston (14) and Charles Cole (12). Montez Fifer was next with eight points while Sean Harris had six, Darius Whitson added two and Devin Booker rounded out the scoring with three points as Lincoln had only eight players take the court in this one.
Preston finished with a game-high six assists and led LU with seven rebounds while also contributing a block. Cole finished with six rebounds and a steal while Harris led all players with four blocks while grabbing three boards. Booker pulled down four rebounds and finished with two steals.
Fifer tallied two rebounds and an assist while Whitson finished second on the team with four assists and a steal. Brandon Stanciel also represented Lincoln on Saturday.
Turnovers were the difference-maker in this one, as UMSL had 15 takeaways, which it used to score 17 points. LU forced eight turnovers of its own, but could only take advantage of those plays for six points. Lincoln dominated the paint, outscoring the Saints, 34-18, inside, but the UMSL bench scored 24 points while Lincoln's reserves chipped in 11.
Despite the loss, Lincoln displayed tremendous effort throughout the contest, rallying from big deficits on multiple occasions to take a lead. UMSL scored the first points of the game and led until the 12:44 mark, when a jumper by Ridle put LU up, 8-7. Missouri-St. Louis eventually tied the game and went up by as many as four before Lincoln went on a 7-2 run, capped by a trey from Ridle, to retake the lead (19-18).
UMSL ultimately took a six-point lead into halftime, and maintained the advantage on the scoreboard until the 10:11 mark of the second period, when a pair of free throws from Ridle tied the game at 44. With 9:47 to play, Cole broke the tie with a dunk, but UMSL rattled off four straight points to retake the lead. A three-point play from Ridle, in which he was fouled on a successful layup, gave Lincoln the brief lead with 8:36 remaining, but UMSL quickly responded and never again trailed.
Saturday's game was the final non-conference contest for Lincoln prior to the start of MIAA play, as the Blue Tigers will play at Nebraska-Kearney on Wednesday. That game will be the first MIAA contest ever for UNK, which is one of four teams joining the league this season. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CST.