The Lindenwood men’s basketball team lost in the opening round of the MIAA conference tournament at home to Lincoln University 72-61, ending the team’s season.
The Lions started out the game hot, quickly going up 7-0 and forcing the Blue Tigers to regroup with an early timeout. As the half went along, however, momentum shifted into Lincoln’s favor, allowing them to claw their way back.
“We started fouling them, and had a real tough time keeping them off the glass,” head coach Lance Randall said. “We just gave them too many baskets around the rim, way too many points in the paint.”
Despite their struggles, the Lions were able to remain close throughout the first half with their three-point shooting. The team connected on five in the half, accounting for nearly half of its points.
Lindenwood ended the first half trailing 34-32.
After the break, however, Lincoln began exerting its will on the Lions, jumping out to a big lead and never looking back.
“In the second half, we did a really poor job,” Randall said.
He specifically mentioned the team’s ball-handling in the second half as a main problem area. Overall they committed seven turnovers in the half, and repeatedly struggled while handling double-teams.
With under eight minutes remaining, Lincoln extended its lead to 10 points, and quickly saw the lead grow to 20 less than three minutes later.
A big reason for the offensive explosion from Lincoln were their two leading scorers, Anthony Virdure and Jaylon Smith, both of whom were All-MIAA performers this season. In this game, the two combined for 37 points and opened up opportunities for teammates.
After a late rally from the Lions fell short, the team fell by a final of 72-61.
The Lions end their season with an overall record of 21-12. This marks the first time in three seasons that the team will not advance to compete in the MIAA quarterfinals.