After trailing by 13 at halftime, the Urbana University men’s basketball team got to within a point of visiting Shepherd late in Saturday’s contest but couldn’t close the gap in a 84-77 defeat at the Grimes Center.
UU had its recent win streak snapped at two while falling to 8-7 overall on the season. The Blue Knights were looking to continue their recent streak that included reaching eight wins over 14 games for the first time in 20 years.
UU’s Jahmere Howze led all scorers with 21 points (6 of 10) and grabbed six rebounds. The sophomore forward has scored at least 12 points in every game this season, raising his average to 17.8 points per contest.
Three others also posted double figures in the scoring column, including DeQuan Abrom (16 points/4 assists), Carlas Jackson (15 points) and Charles Sweatt-Washington (10 points) who finished three boards shy of a double-double.
Shepherd (9-6, 6-3 MEC) made 50 percent of its shots and had five players score more than 10 points, led by AJ Carr’s 18 points. The Rams led wire-to-wire and built their largest lead of 17 right before halftime.
Both teams made six 3-pointers and shot 61 percent from the charity stripe. UU’s bench out-scored the visitor’s reserves 34-13.
The Blue Knights got the lead down to single digits when Jackson’s trey with 13:56 left made it 51-42 Rams. Then UU kept chipping away, outscoring Shepherd 23-15 over the next 10 minutes.
All the momentum seemed to be with the Blue Knights as the clock ticked down under five minutes. Howze propelled the comeback and his free throws at the 4:14 mark put the Knights down a point, 66-65.
The Rams then responded with a 10-0 run to put the game out of reach.
UU has a tough matchup in its next contest as second-ranked Fairmont State (15-0, 9-0 MEC) comes to town for a Monday afternoon game. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.
In Saturday’s first game, the UU women’s basketball team fell, 81-66, to Shepherd.
UU led 2-0 at the start and then never got back in front of the visiting Rams.The Blue Knights drop to 4-8 overall and 2-7 against league opponents.
UU freshman Morgan Mattimore led all scorers with 19 points, reaching double digits for the first time in six games. She finished 6 of 10 from the floor while knocking down 7 of 9 free throws.
Junior Stefanie Davis added 18 points for the second straight game and freshman Sylvia Hudson came up three rebounds shy of her fourth straight double-double with 10 points and seven boards.
UU out-rebounded Shepherd 41-31 but couldn’t take advantage by turning the ball over 16 times. The Blue Knights were limited to a season-low 12 attempts from beyond the arc and hit only two.
UU will host Fairmont State (8-7, 5-4 MEC) on Monday. Opening tip is set for 2 p.m.