Some losses are easier to take than others and on Monday night, the Frank Phillips College Plainsmen had to of left the court at the BCAC with a bitter taste in the mouths after losing to the New Mexico Junior College Thunderbirds, 79-76.
After trailing by ten pints at the 18:42 mark in the second half, the Plainsmen battled hard the next 16 minutes to finally take a one point lead with 1:55 left in the game. Unfortunately, three straight foul calls and two turnovers in the final minute helped the T-Birds escape with the win and send the Plainsmen to 1-4 in WJCAC play.
In the final minute, T-Bird big man Dequan Hicks proved to be a clutch player by hitting 9/10 free throw attempts on his way to leading all scorers with 28 points in the game.
The Plainsmen started the game hot with Ronald Scott nailing a three, followed by baskets by Alex Zivkovic and Taquan McDew, gave Frank Phillips an early 7-0 lead.
The T-Bards responded by going inside several times to spark a 13-2 run halfway through the first half to build a 12-17 lead.
The T-Birds maintained the lead through the remainder of the first half and built the games biggest lead of ten points early in the second half.
But three pointers by Greg Nelson, Akeem Johnson, and an open lay up by McDew allowed the Plainsmen to pull to within three points, 40-43, by the 14:30 mark of the second half.
Until the 2:00 mark, the game was one where the Plainsmen kept threatening to take the lead, yet the T-Birds would find ways to keep a lead change from happening.
Finally at the 1:55 mark, Nelson found James Boonestoppel open for a three pointer to give the Plainsmen the 71-70 lead.
The T-Birds failed to score on their next two possessions. But two offensive foul calls on the Plainsmen sent the T-Birds to the free throw line where they would take back a one point lead with 36 seconds left.
A Plainsmen turnover at the 33 second mark helped the T-Birds build a four point lead, 73-77. But the Plainsmen were able to stay alive in the game when McDew nailed a three pointer with 10 seconds to go to make it a 76-77 score.
A quick foul sent Hicks to the line where he hit both free throws to give the T-Birds a three point lead. The Plainsmen still had four seconds to try to get off a three pointer to send the game into overtime. But a turnover on the inbounds play kept the three point attempt from happening and allowing the T-Birds to hang on for the win.
The Plainsmen drop to 9-12 overall while New Mexico JC improves to 15-6 overall, 3-2 in WJCAC play. The Plainsmen will next hit the road on Thursday to take on Midland College.
Game stats: 2PT-13/26 for 50%; 3PT-7/18 for 38%; Total FG-20/44 for 45%; FT-FPC 29/33 for 87% NM15/17 for 88%; Total rebounds-FPC 24 NM 29; Turnovers-FPC 15 NM 14
FPC individual stats: James Boonstoppel 10 pts 1 ast 1 stl; Ronald Scott 14 pts 2 rebs 3 asts 2 stls; Earl Hill 8 pts 3 rebs 1 ast 1 blk; Akeem Johnson 10 pts 2 rebs 1 ast 4 stls; Greg Nelson 8 pts 5 rebs 2 asts; Taquan McDew 12 pts 2 rebs 1 ast 1 stl; Alex Zivkovic 4 pts 5 rebs 1 ast 2 blks; Kris Harris 10 pts 4 rebs, Demetris Lafontant 1 reb 1 ast 1 blk.
New Mexico JC 36 79
Frank Phillips 28 76