PARKLAND, Wash.—Despite erasing a double-digit deficit in the second half, the Puget Sound men's basketball team lost a heartbreaker Friday, falling 71-69 to Denison on a last-second layup at Names Family Court in Parkland, Wash.
Puget Sound nearly completed a double-digit comeback, erasing a 10-point deficit with 15:42 remaining in the contest. After going into the break down eight, the Loggers found themselves trailing 47-37 five minutes into the second half. Erin Barber made a three-pointer four and a half minutes in to kick-start the Logger comeback. They scored seven of the next nine points over two minutes to draw within three at 50-47.
Two straight Big Red three pointers extended the lead to nine again, but the Loggers went back to work over the next four minutes, cutting their deficit to three again with 8:29 left in the period. Rex Nelson initially tied the contest at 62-all with a layup at the 4:39 mark. After a brief five-point lead for the Big Red at 3:12 left, the Loggers took the lead for themselves after a pair of Nick Holden free throws, giving Puget Sound a 68-67 advantage with 45 seconds left.
The lead changed hands twice in the final minute. Puget Sound took it with Holden's free throws at 0:45, but Denison re-claimed the advantage with 20 seconds left after an Alex Longi layup. Holden hit another free throw with 16 seconds left to draw the teams level again at 69. With two seconds left, Denison's Darius White threw up a three-pointer. He missed, but Longi grabbed the rebound and netted a layup as time expired to give the Big Red a 71-69 win.
The lead with 45 seconds left was not the Loggers' only lead of the game, however. They opened scoring when Nelson drove to the basket for a layup just 10 seconds into the matchup. Denison scored the next nine points over two minutes and twenty seconds, however, but a bucket by Nelson ended the Big Red's run. Puget Sound drew within one after jumpers by Nelson and Sharthak Mukhopadhyay with 16 minutes remaining in the period, and they remained within two scores for the next five minutes.
After the Big Red took a 19-12 lead at 11:12, Keith Shattuck and Matt Reid brought the team within three with two points each. Denison re-established a seven-point advantage with 8:56 remaining. The Big Red drew their lead out to 12 after the Loggers went over three minutes without a bucket, not finding the net from 9:16 to 6:10. At that point, the Loggers embarked on an 11-2 run to draw back within four points with 2:42 remaining in the half. The Loggers scored two and Denison four in the final 2:42 to enter halftime with the score Denison 38, Puget Sound 32.
Puget Sound shot 38.3% from the field Friday, hitting 23 of their 60 attempts. Denison also hit 23 field goals but attempted 63 for a 36.5 field goal percentage. The Big Red netted eight three-pointers for a 26.7% mark beyond the arc while the Loggers hit just three three-pointers, but shot 30.0% from that range. Puget Sound also out-rebounded Denison, gathering 44 missed shots over Denison's 37. The Loggers also committed more turnovers than the Big Red, giving the ball up 15 times over the Big Red's 11.
Nelson led all scorers with 19 points. He's scored in the double-digits in all six games this season and is currently fourth in the Northwest Conference with an average of 18.5 points per game. Holden tallied 14 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the year and second in a row, while Dan Cheledinas added 10 points in a starting role. Longi led all players with 11 rebounds while Holden's mark of 10 loose balls topped the Loggers. Additionally, Holden blocked five shots, leading all players Friday and doubling his season total in the category.
The Loggers (2-4, 0-0 NWC) look to get back in the win column Saturday, Nov. 30 when they finish their involvement at the PLU Thanksgiving Classic with a contest versus St. Mary's of Minnesota. That game will tip off at 2:00 p.m., again at Names Family Court in Parkland, Wash.