Eugene, Ore. – The Titans came back from a double-digit deficit but were unable to pull out a win, as they fell 76-75 at home versus Linn-Benton.
How it happened:
First half: The Titans got off to a slow start, scoring six points in the first 4:13 while allowing 15 in that span. Their largest deficit came a couple minutes later when they were down 11, 20-9, 6:04 into the game. The Titans came back with an 11-2 run over the next five plus minutes and reduced their deficit to one, 22-21. After a couple of Roadrunner runs that extended their lead back to multiple possessions, Ty Horner converted a dunk with 3:40 remaining to cut the Titans deficit back to one-point, 28-27. 43 seconds later Horner converted an and-one to give the Titans their first lead of the game, 30-28. The two teams would tie the game at 30, 32 and then 34 at half.
The Titans shot 50 percent from the field and had assists on seven of their 14 made field goals.
Second half: The Titans scored the first four points of the half with a Jake Willensen basket and a pair of Ty Horner free throws. Linn-Benton tied the game at 38 two minutes into the half. An Isaac Lange dunk sparked a 12-3 run that was capped by a Rodney Hounshell three, and gave the Titans a 50-41 lead, their largest of the game, with 14:30 remaining.
A 1:58 run by the Roadrunners quickly tied the game at 50 after the Titans had the momentum and a three-possession lead. To compound the Linn-Benton run, Ty Horner fouled out with 12:14 remaining after getting called for three questionable fouls in 35 seconds. To slow the negative momentum, Dominic McGarvey found Dylan Reichenberger for a corner three to regain the lead, 53-50. Not too long later, Jake Willemsen would become the second player to fall victim to fouling out at the 9:03 mark.
After a few baskets the Roadrunners tied the game at 55 with 8:12 remaining. After tying the game at 60, the Titans lost their third player to fouls, this time it was Dominic McGarvey at the 6:47 mark. Linn-Benton made the two free throws from the foul to take the 62-60 lead. A Roadrunner three with 6:03 remaining extended the Titan deficit to two possessions.
Head coach Matt Zosel took a timeout with 4:34 remain and down four, 69-65. A 1:14 after the timeout, Isaac Lange made a three to tie the game at 72. Tashon Brown then tied the game again, this time at 74. Reichenberger made one of two free throws to give the Titans the lead, 75-74 with 1:48 remaining and the Titans had a chance to extend the lead to three with 1:05 remaining, but a layup rimmed out and the Roadrunners took the 76-75 lead with 38 seconds remaining.
With 14 seconds remaining the Titans turned over the ball and forced a foul situation for themselves, but they did not foul and inexplicably the Roadrunners took a shot that missed with 11 seconds left. After grabbing the rebound Zosel kept his timeout and let the game play out. Tashon Brown drove into the lane and dropped off a pass to Reichenberger who drove in for the layup and appeared to get fouled, but no call came, and the game ended 76-75.
The Titans committed 17 fouls which all but cancelled out their 56.5 percent shooting.
What stood out:
52.9 FG%: highest field goal percentage in a loss; 7-2 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field … 24 fouls: most versus an NWAC opponent (30 at Pacific University JV, No. 26) … 7 made threes: fewest since Dec. 17 at Centralia, a 74-72 win; 1-3 versus NWAC opponents when making single-digit threes.
Who stood out:
Rodney Hounshell: 19 points, four assists, three rebounds and one steal; double figure scoring in all 17 games … Ty Horner: 17 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and one assists; fourth double-double … Jesse Hubbe: 11 points, 3-4 from three, one rebounds, one assists and one steal; double figure scoring in two of last three games; 10-straight games with a made three; sixth in the NWAC at 46.8 percent from three on the season, first among players with 4.6 attempts or more per game.
What it means: The Titans are now in eighth place, three games back of Portland for the fourth and final playoff spot with eight games remaining.
What's next: The Titans (11-8, 2-6) host fourth place Portland (9-8, 5-3) on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. The Titans beat Portland on the road to open the conference schedule, 97-78, on Jan. 4.