CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Mount St. Joseph men's basketball team welcomed the Beavers of Bluffton into the Harrington Center for a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference matchup on Thursday. The Lions turned in a valiant effort but in the end had put themselves into a little too big of a hole, falling 72-70 to Bluffton.
For the first time this season coach Toby Carrigan started a lineup that included five freshman. Joining the starting lineup for the game was Ashton Burke (Xenia, Ohio/Legacy Christian Academy) and Collin Yost (Perrysburg, Ohio/Cardinal Stritch) for both of them it was the first start in their Mount career. The young Lions equated themselves well in the early going, as they went toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in the HCAC. The game was extremely tight over the openeing 16:14 of play, there were 11 lead changes and 3 ties over that time frame. The Lions took a 28-25 lead with 4:15 to play on a triple by Yost. The Lions would be scoreless the rest of the first half. Bluffton closed the first half on a 17-0 run to take a 42-28 lead into the break.
The Lions opened the second half trying to dig themselves out of a big hole. Bluffton though stretched their lead out to a game-high 18 points with 11:41 to play in the game. The Lions answered with back-to-back threes by Cedric Woods (Fairfield, Ohio/Fairfield) and Jake Cropper (Georgetown, Ohio/Georgetown). That began a valiant Lions run to get back into the game. A Mitch Moorhead (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) three, followed by an old fashioned three point play by Devin Young (Crestwood, Ky./South Oldham) cut the deficit to single digits. With 4:47 to play the Lions trailed by nine at 59-68, they quickly cut the lead down to three as Young and Shaun Sullivan (Louisville, Ky./DeSalles) each buried a three. A pair of free-throws by Young cut the lead to just two with just over a minute to play. The Lions got the stop they needed and had the ball with 11 seconds to play down two. After a timeout by each coach the Lions inbounded the ball to Cropper, who drove the lane only to see his possible game-tying shot fall short.
The Lions were led in the game by Young who scored a game-high 24 points, he added a team-high 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Two other Lions scored in double-figures Brady Thomas added 14 points and Cropper came off the bench to score 10.
The Lions will take to the court again on Saturday as they travel to Defiance, Ohio to take on the Defiance College Yellow Jackets (3-17, 1-12 HCAC). The game is scheduled to get underway at 3:00 PM tune into MSJsports.com for you live game coverage.