Photo taken by Head Athletic Trainer, Ann Schmerbauch
CARLINVILLE, Ill.— The Fontbonne University men's basketball teams valiant effort in the final minutes against Blackburn came up short on Wednesday night, falling 82-78.
With 12.0 seconds left, Blackburn's Karson Hayes missed his second free throw attempt to keep the Beavers up 80-75 over the Griffins. Noah Coddington got the defensive board and the Griffins raced down the court.
The ball eventually found its way over to Tristan Baker and he sank the 3-pointer to put them down just 80-78 with 8.0 seconds remaining. However, Blackburn got the inbound play they wanted and Duncan King went on to sink both free throws to give them the four-point win.
Fontbonne (3-15; 1-10 SLIAC), shot 45.9 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from downtown, but committed 22 turnovers.
Individually, Coddington had himself a night with a team-high 18 points and nine boards. Erich Schark and Jared Woodcock sank 14 points each, while James Wiggins finished with 11 points and seven boards of his own. Off the bench, Baker went 3-of-3 from 3-point land to finish with 12 points.
Blackburn (10-8; 7-5 SLIAC), ended with a field goal percentage of 37.3 and out-rebounded the Griffins, 47-36. Reed Rusten came up big off the bench, finishing with a game-high 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Karson Hayes was the final player in double-figures, netting 15.
In the first half, the Griffins opened with a 16-12 lead on Kris McCann's 3-pointer at 10:08. Later, at the 5:39 mark, Woodcock drained his 3-point attempt and got fouled on the play. He went on to make the free throw giving them a 29-21 advantage with 5:37 to go.
After Schark earned a 3-point play of his own, the Griffins were on top 32-26 with just under four minutes remaining. Then, in one minute and 22 seconds, the Beavers went on a 9-0 run, capped off by Rusten's 3-pointer to put Blackburn out in front, 35-32.
They never relinquished its lead the rest of the way and headed into the break on top, 41-36. Fontbonne shot 51.7 percent in the first half and were paced by Schark's 12 points.
In the second half, the Griffins went on a 9-4 run of its own to take a 45-44 lead on Coddington's free throws at 16:19.
From there, it continued to be back-and-forth play until the Beavers stretched its lead out to 64-55 (8:17) on Karson Hayes' jumper. Fontbonne didn't let the game get away from them, though as Schark's bucket, with 4:38 remaining, narrowed it down to 70-68.
At 1:43, Baker went 1-of-2 from the line to put Fontbonne down by just a possession (75-72). However, Rusten got the ball and drained a 3-pointer on the ensuing play to give them a 78-72 advantage. Blackburn went to go 4-of-6 from the line in the final minute which proved to be enough for the victory.
The Griffins look to bounce back against rival Webster on Saturday in the Coaches vs. Cancer game. Tip-off goes up at 3 p.m.
Fans make sure to stay updated on fontbonnegriffins.com throughout the year for full updates and recaps on the men's basketball team.