DEFIANCE, Ohio – The Defiance College men's basketball team staged a second half comeback that fell short in the final minutes as Adrian College held on for the non-conference win Monday evening, 76-66.
The Yellow Jackets (3-6 overall) finished with four players in double figures led by freshman Demoines Whitney (Detroit, Mich./Western) who recorded his first career double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Kiewuan Graham (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) finished the contest with a team-best 17 points, while freshman Avion Franklin (Toledo/Whitmer) scored a career-best 14 points and sophomore Jordan Maschino (Bradford/Covington) added 12 points and nine rebounds.
Defiance fell behind early in the first half as Adrian opened the contest on a 5-0 run before junior Noah Goodrich (Oregon/Genoa) connected from deep with 16:12 remaining, 5-3. The Purple and Gold continued to pressure the Bulldog offense as freshman Cohen Nies (Logansport, Ind./Lewis Center) went to work down low pulling DC within 10-6. However, the Black and Gold responded with an 8-0 run over a four minute span to extend its lead with 12:33 to play, 18-6.
Whitney looked to lift the lid for the Purple and Gold as he connected in the lane at the 5:03 mark, 31-16. Adrian combated the attack and continued to fire on all cylinders as another 7-0 run pushed the Bulldog lead to 38-16 with 2:37 till the break. Maschino led Defiance in the final minutes scoring four straight points to enter the half trailing 38-21.
Defiance would push the tempo in the second half as back-to-back scores from Maschino and Graham cut the deficit early, 40-25. The Yellow Jackets continued to chip at the Bulldog advantage erasing a 17 point deficit over a five minute span led by junior Jovon Thomason (Port Huron, Mich.). At the 10:26 minute mark Whitney delivered another blow pulling the Yellow Jackets within 52-43.
Franklin found his range late in the second half for DC as he shifted the momentum following back-to-back three pointers pulling the Purple and Gold within 56-48 at the 8:13 minute mark. Adrian answered the surge once more as a three-pointer gave the Bulldogs the 61-51 advantage. However, the Yellow Jackets swarmed as Graham found his stroke from three-point connecting on a pair to pull Defiance within 65-60 with 4:06 to play. This is the closest the Yellow Jackets would get as Adrian held strong at the free throw line to seal the win.
Defiance returns to action Friday, December 29 and Saturday, December 30 as they host the 43rd annual Purple and Gold Tournament.