CINCINNATI, OHIO -- The Defiance men's basketball team lost a 73-66 decision against Mount St. Joseph University in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference game in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Defiance had a better percentage than MSJ in both overall field goal shooting (53.7 percent) and from three-point range (46.2 percent) for the game, but would only get to the free-throw line four times, compared to the Lions' 22 attempts (18-of-22 overall), which turned out to be the difference maker in the contest.
Individually, the Yellow Jackets had one player score in double figures in senior Devin Mangas (Leipsic) with 18 points on seven-of-nine shooting (77.8 percent), including four-of-five (80.0 percent) from behind the arc. The trio of sophomore Randall Aikins, Jr. (Detroit, Mich./Plymouth) and freshmen Devon Beale (Toledo/Whitmer) and Brayden Wilhelm (Greenwich/South Central) were all tied for second with eight points each.
On the boards, senior Michael Parker (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) led the way with a game-high eight rebounds.
Defiance (2-6, 2-2 HCAC) scored the game's opening basket on a tip-in by freshman Payton Ross (Indianapolis, Ind./Arlington), but Mount St. Joseph (8-2, 3-1 HCAC) then outscored the Yellow Jackets, 18-8, to lead by eight points at the 11:17 mark and never trailed in the game again.
The Lions posted their first double-digit lead of the game with 8:53 to go in the first half en route to leading by as many 13 points on two occasions, incuding a 40-27 halftime margin.
MSJ began the second half with back-to-back buckets to increase the deficit to 17 points, 44-27. Trailing by 19 points, 48-29, at the 16:17 mark, a layup by senior Chris Holmes (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) sparked an 8-0 scoring run for DC that narrowed the gap to 11 points, 48-37, with a little over 12 minutes remaining.
The Lions ended the Jacket run with five straight points of their own to extend the margin to a more comfortable 16 points, 53-37, with 11:15 to go.
Mount St. Joseph looked to be headed to a convincing win, maintaining a double-figure lead, 59-48, with 5:17 remaining in the game. DC then began to rally that started with eight consecutive points as part of a 10-2 run to make it a one-possession game, 61-58, with a minute-and-a-half left.
Defiance hung around, but a 6-0 run by MSJ with a four-point advantage and under 30 seconds to go, put the Lions back ahead by double digits, 73-63. Mangas tallied the final points of the game on a triple, but time wasn't on the Jackets' side as the Lions hung on for the seven-point victory.
The Jackets will next travel to Adrian, Mich. for a non-conference game against Adrian (Mich.) College on Tuesday, Dec. 20. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.