INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — This is a feeling that the University of Saint Francis knows all too well after another comeback falls two points short this time in a 93-91 Crossroads League decision at eighth-ranked Marian University on Tuesday night.
The Cougars are 5-4 in CL play and three of the losses were by a point, so they remain on the hunt for a win the same way they have lost in conference play.
In a game that was tied once and that 21st-ranked USF never led, Hunter Hollowell missed a prayer from nearly three-quarter court at the buzzer after a missed MU free throw with 2.7 seconds to play. Considering USF trailed 86-72 with 4:13 to play after Antwaan Cushingberry was whistled for his fifth foul to the dismay of USF Head Coach Chad LaCross, the Cougars deserve credit for relentless and resilient play.
LaCross was handed a technical for protesting the call and after MU made three-of-four free throws for a 14-point lead, the Cougars outscored MU 19-7 in the time remaining before coming up three points short of the win.
Conlan Martin came off the USF bench and swished a step-back 3-pointer that kept USF hope alive, 90-87, with 20 seconds to play. After Martin forced MU to lose the ball out of bounds on the ensuing play, Austin Compton drove and banked in a basket drawing USF within a point, 90-89, with 12 seconds to play. USF had to foul and Christian Stewart hit both free throws with 10 seconds to play. Martin threw up a long 3-pointer air ball that Hollowell put back with five seconds to play leaving USF a 92-91 trailer with three seconds to play.
USF fouled Christian Harvey, who made the first free throw with 2.7 seconds left, then missed the second leading to Hollowell’s desparation air ball.
Cushingberry finished with 21 points, 12 in the second half. Compton added 10 points in the second half and finished with 15 points. Connor Lautzenheiser added 11 points and Jeffrey Reynolds 10, all in the first half.
USF outscored MU 56-48 in the second half after the Knights had built a 45-35 halftime lead. It was MU’s fifth consecutive win in the series, which included three consecutive wins in 2018-19.