Owls Can't Find Last-Second Luck, Fall to Mount Mercy
FULTON, MO -- The William Woods University men's basketball team battled back from a nine-point second-half deficit on Saturday afternoon, but came up just short in the final seconds as they dropped a 71-67 result to Mount Mercy University. Logan Decker was one of four Owls in double digits on the afternoon, leading the team with 17.
The first ten minutes of the game were a dogfight, with neither team able to stretch a lead further than four points. Mount Mercy opened up a four-point lead on its first two possessions of the contest, but WWU answered immediately with a three by Johnathon Nutt and a jumper from Phillip Davis.
A 9-0 run for Mount Mercy sparked the visitors to a 27-19 lead with 6:25 left in the first half, but the Owls answered with a 12-2 run of their own to lead 31-29 with 2:12 to go. A basket by Decker and a three-point play by Marcus Cocroft closed out the scoring, and the teams went into the intermission tied at 34-34.
The second half started much as the first, with neither team able to stretch out a comfortable margin until the 13:00 mark. An 8-0 run by the Mustangs put them up 48-43 with 12:30 on the clock, and the visitors were able to push the margin to nine with 9:29 to go.
Down 67-60, WWU got a three-pointer from Nutt with 1:16 to go to pull within four, and whittled away the lead as Seth Thomas sank four free throws over the final 23 seconds.
With 5.0 seconds left on the clock, Thomas came up with what looked to be the biggest play of the game to that point, as he swiped the ball from Alex Coleman, giving WWU a chance to tie or win the ball game. WWU found Decker on the inbounds play and the junior drew contact as he darted through traffic in the lane, but his layup was off the mark and in the scramble for the rebound, Dontre' Jenkins was whistled for the foul. Cocroft sank both free throws with just 1.0 second on the clock to seal the result.
WWU drops to 7-7 on the season. In addition to Decker's 17, Nutt and Thomas each put in 15 - with Thomas going a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line - and Roy McElroy added 11. Sam Kenyi posted a double-double (17 pts, 10 reb.) for the Mustangs, and Cocroft also finished with 17.
The Owls will be back in action on December 30, as they take on Cumberland University in the Cougars vs. Cancer Classic in Columbia. Tipoff for the game is set for 4 P.M.