The Rock’s second half rally was not enough to edge Clarion University Wednesday night in a 67-68 loss.
The effort was there, Rock head coach Kevin Reynolds said, they just could not finish.
“We did a great job of guarding them in that time period,” Reynolds said. “We just couldn’t separate ourselves. We couldn’t make the go-ahead buckets.”
After shooting 7-24 from the field in the first half and coming out sluggish in the second half where the Golden Eagles had a 15 point lead, The Rock found what it needed to get back in the game. The Green and White allowed only nine points to be scored for 10 minutes of the second half, bringing their deficit within two points with less than eight minutes to play.
The Rock fought to stay in the game until the last second. With seven seconds to play, the Golden Eagles had a five-point lead over The Rock. Senior guard Malcolm Richardson was fouled off of an inbound pass sending him through the free-throw line, sinking both attempts.
The Rock retained the ball with less than five seconds left and looked back to Richardson who was having a poor shooting night, going 2-8 from the field. Richardson missed the shot making it his second missed three-pointer for the night and ended the Rock’s chance to get the win.
“We missed the shot,” Reynolds said. “They made the plays at the end of the game and we didn’t.”
Redshirt-senior center Cornelius Brown picked up on offense where Richardson lacked. Brown had a team-high 29 points, 17 which came from a 100 percent outing from the free throw line. His aggressive play in the post also helped him grab team-highs with 14 rebounds and two blocks.
“He is putting up first team all-conference numbers,” Reynolds said. “But we need him to do more. We need him to keep putting up the type of points and rebounds he has been.”
“This could be all of our last games,” Reynolds said. “For the seniors, it could be there last ever.”
Junior forward Chaquille Pratt assisted Brown’s efforts with 11 points and nine rebounds. Though Richardson had a poor night of shooting , he managed to put up 12 points due to his eight made attempts from the free-throw line.
SRU edged out Clarion in rebounds (43-36), points in the paint (28-14), second chance points (15-5), points off turnovers (15-10) and won the turnover battle (12-10).
The Golden Eagles’ victory was led by senior guard Andre’ Anthony and junior guard BJ Andrews who had 18 and 17 points respectively.
With only two games left in the regular season the Rock does not have any room to lose any games if it wants to make the PSAC tournament.
“We are tied for sixth, but we lose the tie breaker right now,” Reynolds said. “If we win out we might have the chance to make it, but if we lose it will really be detrimental to our season.”
Reynolds and his team will be back at Morrow Field House Saturday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. to face Gannon University.