Host Thomas More College grabbed a four-point lead at the half, and held off a late Mount charge on Saturday afternoon in a 77-76 win. The Lions fall to 6-3 with the loss, and will return to action on Dec. 30 when they host NAIA Goshen College.
Following an 11-all tie at the 12:50 mark of the first half, the Saints went on a 10-0 run over the next 2:20 to roll out to a 21-11 lead. The Lions, however, would whittled that lead away, thanks mainly to their inside scoring attack, and got to within two points of the lead, 34-32, when Joel Scudder (Greendale, IN/South Dearborn) connected on three-pointer with 3:50 left in the half. Thomas More would hold a 38-34 lead a the half, due to their outside shooting, which saw them make seven-of-10 from behind the three-point arc. The Lions made only two-of-seven from long range in the opening half.
Thomas More maintained a comfortable lead through most of the early part of the second half, and pushed their advantage out to double-digits, 51-41 on a three-pointer with 15:15 showing on the clock. That lead would increase to 15 points, with 8:58 left. The Lions, however, getting balanced scoring over the next minute, went on a 6-0 run and knocked the deficit down to nine, at 64-55. The Saints, however, slowed the Mount's comeback attempt, by just enough, as they held a 76-70 lead with just over two minutes to play. Scudder hit two free throws with 1:11 left, bringing the Lions to within two, 76-74, and teammate Femi Thompson (Cincinnati, OH/Aiken) would hit a lay-up with 40 seconds left, cutting the deficit to 77-76. The Saints missed a shot, on their final possession, with six seconds left in the game, and the Mount's long three-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark. The Mount out-shot Thomas More, 68 to 58 percent from the field in the second half, but was out-scored from three-point range, 12-0 by the Saints. The Lions also had a 14-4 rebounding edge in the second half.
The Lions had four players score in double figures, with Thompson leading the way with 16 points. Bobby Murdock finished with 15 points, off the bench, while Scudder chipped in 14 points and Ken Kunkel (Cincinnati, OH/Colerain) added 10 points. Mark Allen (Cincinnati, OH/Northwest) had a game-high eight rebounds. The Lions out-shot Thomas More, 59 to 57 percent from the field, 82 to 77 percent from the line, and held a 28-15 advantage on the boards.