Free Throw Spell Costs William Woods Conference Opener
FULTON, MO -- Seth Thomas poured in 19 points and three Owls finished in double figures, but it wasn't enough to overcome a 9-32 deficit in free throws as the William Woods University men's basketball team fell 77-83 to Hannibal-LaGrange University in its conference opener.
The Owls got off to a bright start, opening up a 13-7 lead with 15:20 to go, with three pointers by Dontre' Jenkins and Thomas bookending the run. WWU would stretch its lead as far as 22-13 with 8:42 left in the first half before a Jenkins foul would open the floodgates.
HLG hit on 10 of its next 12 trips to the line, as they chipped away and turned a nine-point deficit into a five-point advantage. The Trojans took a 31-36 lead into halftime. The second half saw much of the same, as Hannibal-LaGrange pulled out to a big lead, stretching the margin as far as 41-55 with 11:31 to go.
With under two minutes to go, WWU was finally able to find its range from three, as a 14-4 run pulled the Owls to within 77-79 with 13.9 seconds to go in the game. Left with no choice by to foul, WWU sent Arii Meuel to the line in the double bonus, with the HLG sophomore making both.
Unfortunately, the Owls couldn't connect on their next possession, as the effort from Jenkins was off the mark, and Meuel was able to add two more consolation free throws.
William Woods finished the second half hitting at a solid .593 pace including a .600 mark from distance, but HLG posted a torrid .650 pace in the second half to move to .460 on the night. The Owls outshot the Trojans from the floor, connecting at a .492 pace but were unable to match HLG's 32 makes from the free throw line. Decker added 17 points in the loss, with Nutt chipping in 14.
The Owls are back in action on Saturday, taking on AMC foe Park University. The game is the second half of a doubleheader, and is set for a 4 P.M. tipoff.