Two days after being shocked by California (Pa.) in comeback fashion, the Slippery Rock men’s basketball team found another way to suffer a heartbreaking loss.
Instead of knocking off an opponent with a miraculous comeback a la California, Slippery Rock let No. 9 Indiana (Pa.) escape a tough, gritty game Wednesday, Jan. 8 at Morrow Field House, its comeback falling short, 78-74.
Living and dying by the three-pointer at times this season, shooting in the top half of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference teams in three-point percentage this season, Slippery Rock (6-8, 2-6 PSAC) went cold from beyond the arc against Indiana.
Connecting on just three of 23 attempts, a season low of 13%, Slippery Rock could not recreate its magical night beyond the arc against California—not that it mattered against the Vulcans in the end.
Indiana (12-1, 7-1 PSAC) more than tripled Slippery Rock’s three pointers, hitting 10 of its 27 attempts.
Despite the glaring difference, a 30-9 swing, Indiana was never able to put SRU away. When leading by 11 with 13:25 left in the second, SRU went on an 8-0 run which cut the game to a single possession.
Indiana and Slippery Rock battled throughout the latter stages of the second half, Indiana’s lead cut to just one point multiple times. With 1:21 left in the game, senior forward Micah Till’s layup cut the game 74-72.
A costly offensive foul, on a pick play, combined with a couple of missed shots and efficient free throw shooting led to the four point win for the Crimson Hawks.
SRU: Senior forward Will Robinson, Jr led Slippery Rock with 21 points while also grabbing seven rebounds and two steals. Till recorded his second double-double of the season, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 boards.
IUP: Malik Miller was the driving force behind Indiana’s win, scoring a game-high 23 points, bringing in six rebounds and dishing out five assists. Armani Foster matched Miller’s 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds of his own.
SRU: Slippery Rock falls to 6-8 on the season and 2-6 in the conference with the loss to its arch rival.
Despite losing at home to a division rival, Slippery Rock controls its destiny in carving out a playoff spot this season.
IUP: Indiana improves to 12-1 on the season and 7-1 in the conference with the road win over a division rival.
As the top team in a very competitive PSAC-Western Division, Indiana will continue to serve as the team all others are chasing as teams enter the bulk of its seasons.
Slippery Rock will be back in action Saturday, Jan. 11, against Seton Hill on the road in Greensburg, Pa. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.