WICHITA, Kansas (January 23, 2014) – Tyler Rogers' shot was off the mark at the buzzer to prevent an overtime contest with Newman University, as Lubbock Christian fell 76-74 to the Jets while committing 19 turnovers despite double-doubles from Rogers and Eli Baker at Fugate Gymnasium on Thursday night.
Rogers recorded 15 points and a season-high 11 rebounds for his first double-double as a Chap, and Baker recorded his sixth of the season with 10 rebounds and a game-high 20 points. Anthony Brancato tallied 19 points, including 4-of-5 shooting from the three-point line.
A jumper by Beau Durham with 1:29 left in the closely contested game gave LCU (8-6, 3-5 Heartland) a 72-71 edge, and a missed layup by NU's Jeremy Espinoza gave the Chaps another chance on the next trip down the floor, but a scoop shot by Brancato failed to drop in as he was swarmed on his attempt to extend LCU's lead. Newman's Marquis Cuyler grabbed his own miss and was fouled by Baker with 21 seconds to play, sending him to the charity stripe with the game-tying and game-winning free throws in his hands. He converted both freebies for a 73-72 Jet lead. A jumper by Rogers was unsuccessful with 15 seconds remaining and A.J. Luckey fouled Landers Riddle, who also converted his two shots from the line to extend Newman's lead to 75-72 with 12 ticks on the clock.
Luckey drained two of his own free throws with seven seconds to go, and Rogers was forced to foul Cuyler, who hit the first of his two shots, allowing Head Coach Todd Duncan to call a timeout with 5.6 seconds left. Rogers got the ball in his hands, dribbled upcourt and launched a shot just inside the top of the key, but the ball went off the right side of the iron, ending the Chaps' two-game conference win streak.
Newman (6-11, 3-6 Heartland) began the game on a tear, knocking down six of their first eight shots, including 4-of-5 from downtown in the opening minutes to bust out to a 16-7 lead. A three-pointer and jump shot by Rogers coupled with a bucket and a pair of free throws by Baker tied the game up less than two minutes later. Luckey nailed a trey at the 11:21 mark to give put Chaps ahead, 21-20, their first lead since the opening score of the contest.
The Jets pieced together a 10-0 run to take a 30-23 lead with 6:47 left in the first half, a stretch in which LCU handed over six turnovers on six consecutive possessions. Two dunks by Baker and two free throws by Rogers knotted the game at 31-31 with 2:42 to play in the period. Another slam by Baker put the Chaps back on top, 33-31, before Espinoza hit two free throw with 45 seconds to go. Luckey hit a jumper on the next play for a two-point lead, but NU's Ryan McCarthy was bailed out with one second remaining and hit two free throws to tie things up at 35-35 at halftime.
Baker threw down another bucket to put the Chaps up 40-39 early in the second half, but turnovers again pestered LCU and permitted Newman to jump out to a 50-42 lead three minutes later. Brancato then came alive with 8:14 remaining in the game, nailing three shots from deep as part of a 15-5 LCU run to give the Chaps a 66-64 advantage with 4:43 to play. Seconds later, Espinoza scored on a layup to tie the contest before a pair of free throws by Brancato put the Chaps on top, 68-66, with 3:32 remaining. A layup by Cuyler equaled the score on the other end, and a tip-in by Baker gave the Chaps a 70-68 edge at the 2:06 mark. Cuyler hit a three with under two minutes to go, but Durham's jumper was the last field goal that Chaps were able to muster in the final 1:29.
Newman committed a season-low three turnovers, the fifth lowest output in Division II this season. Cuyler scored a team-high 18 points, Espinoza registered 16, Trae Beck added 11 and Perryonte Smith had 10.
The Chaps wrap up their fifth straight road game at Oklahoma Panhandle State on Saturday at 3 p.m. before returning home next week to take on Rogers State January 30 at 7:30 p.m.