(DCC Athletics release)
GLENDIVE – In what was another thrilling game, the DCC Buccaneers basketball men lost a nail-biter to the Royals of Lake Region State College 84-78. The game started out pretty evenly as 7-footer Harvey Barr scored inside on the Royals first possession. Tyrell Harper answered back with a lay-up on a nice pass from Simon Falokun. It stayed pretty close throughout the opening half with four ties and four lead changes; and with 6:22 remaining Lake Region was clinging to a five point lead at 27-22. They increased their lead by going on a 10-2 run fueled by a 3-pointer from Nick Fassos and a pull-up jumper by Drew Thielges. The Buccaneers had several turnovers during that stretch. Jordan Bolton hit a runner at the half-time buzzer to give the Royals a 39-28 cushion going into the break. Nick Fassos and Drew Thielges had two 3-pointers each and combined for 20 points in the first half. Nobody was in double figures for Dawson who shot 31% from the field, 12% from the 3-point line and 42% from the free throw line. The Bucs did outrebound the Royals 29-20 in the first half.
It didn’t take long in the second half for the Bucs to fight back and regain the lead. They opened the half with a 17-6 run and Michele Capasso hit a 3-pointer to put them back up 48-45 with 14:17 still remaining. DCC eventually led by 7, but Thielges hit another 3-pointer to help bring the Royals back. Point guard Jordan Bolton went on a mini 7-point run for Lake Region with back to back buckets in the lane and then a long 3-pointer. Turnovers once again plagued DCC for a stretch in the 2nd half which cost them their lead. Brent Finn made a lay-up for Dawson to tie the game once again at 70-70 with 3:39 remaining. Bolton made another tough shot in the lane to put Lake Region up by 2, but Simon Falokun answered back with a traditional 3 point play and then another basket inside to put the Bucs up by 1 with 1:40 remaining. That lead was short-lived though as the Royals inbounded it and threw it down to leading scorer Cedric Boone who hit a big pull-up 3-pointer to go back on top by two. Falokun missed a jumper on the other end, but the Bucs came up with a stop of their own until the Royals secured the offensive rebound and drew a foul. Fassos made the first free throw to increase the lead to 3 points. He missed the second and Dawson’s point guard Travon Hamilton collected the rebound and got fouled. With a chance to cut into the lead and keep it a one possession game, Hamilton missed both free throws. Lake Region’s Bolton was fouled and made one of two free throws with 29.2 seconds left. Still down five points, the Bucs pushed the ball up and Harper hit a 3-pointer to pull them within 2. They had to foul and this time Bolton made two free throws to turn it into a 4-point game and put it out of reach with only a few seconds remaining.
Dawson outshot and outrebounded Lake Region, but had twice as many turnovers. Lake Region scored 23 points off of the 14 turnovers Dawson committed. Bolton and Thielges led the way for the Royals scoring 26 points and 21 points respectively. For the Bucs, Falokun had a monster 2nd half to finish with 27 points before fouling out. Tate Savoie added 14 points while Finn scored 11 and Harper finished with 11 points and 16 rebounds.
DCC Coach Joe Peterson was disappointed, “This is the second straight game we had the win in our grasp and didn’t close it out. After we went up by two, we let them push the ball up and get a 3-pointer from their best player. And then on the next possession we didn’t come up with the rebound. In the first 7 games of the Mon-Dak season, 6 of them have come down to the final 30 seconds. There are going to be a lot of close games ahead, and we better learn how to make the plays to win the game.”
The Bucs fall to 14-6 on the season and 1-2 in the league. The Royals climbed to 2-1. Dawson will return home for another Thursday night match-up. They will be facing United Tribes Technical College at 7:30 pm.