Three late turnovers cost the Spring Hill College men's basketball team a shot at victory over the University of Mobile in a Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) contest on Thursday night at the Arthur R. Outlaw Recreation Center as the Rams fended off the Badgers by a score of 84-78.
The Rams (8-7, 3-3 SSAC West) and the Badgers fought a see-saw affair throughout most of the 1st half as Mobile built out a 9-point advantage at 23-14 just 12 minutes into the game only to see Spring Hill rally to take a 29-27 lead with 3½ minutes left in the half. The Rams responded with an 11-1 run ove r the next three minutes and took a 38-33 bulge into halftime after Frederick Gatson of SHC knocked home a 3-point jumper as the horn sounded for intermission.
The teams would trade the lead eight times with nine ties in the 2nd half with neither team taking more than a 4-point lead until the final seconds.
The Badgers hurt themselves with three crucial late turnovers as a fumble by Jarrett Calhoun resulted in a bucket by Brandon Morris on the other end that staked Mobile to a 72-70 lead with four minutes left on the clock. Later, senior Alex Looney would throw an in-bounds pass out of bounds in a mistake that ultimately led to another layup by Morris with 2:11 on the scoreboard. Kwame Beard would take a steal away from Wesley Pietri of SHC as he came up the floor just seconds later in a play that led to two free throws by Morris at 1:46 giving Mobile a 76-73 advantage.
Robert Gipson of Spring Hill made it a 76-75 game at 1:16, but consecutive buckets by Beard and Julien Sargent of Mobile made it a 5-point Badger deficit with 14 seconds to play. Mobile would make four free throws sandwiched around a 3-pointer by Calhoun over the final 10 seconds to secure the win.
Gatson scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Badger charge and Pietri added another 13 points for the home side. SHC shot 46.4% (26-56) from the floor including a 33.3% (8-24) effort from 3-point distance. SHC won the rebounding war in a 36 to 23 decision, but lost 12 turnovers to six steals by the Rams.
Brandon Morris of Mobile led all scorers with 26 points and Kwame Beard added 17 points to the Rams' cause. Mobile shot 51.1% (24-47) and 55.6% (10-18) in 3-point attempts. The Rams lost just eight turnovers versus only one Badger steal.
The Badgers (2-14, 1-5 SSAC West) will next host Belhaven University (7-8, 5-2 SSAC West) in a conference game on Saturday at 4 p.m.