The Missouri S&T men’s basketball team took part in the California Baptist Thanksgiving Classic on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24-25. The Miners went 0-2 in the tournament, losing to the host school 72-62 on Friday before falling to the Academy of Art 70-50 on Saturday.
Missouri S&T had a strong second half performance Friday against seventh-ranked California Baptist, but it wasn't enough to overcome a sluggish opening stanza as the Miners dropped a 73-62 decision on the first night of the CBU Thanksgiving Classic.
The Miners (1-3) shot 58.6 percent in the second half, held the Lancers (6-0) to just 28.2 percent from the floor and outscored CBU 38-30 over the final 20 minutes. However, S&T entered the second half down by 19 after getting blitzed from long range in the first half as the Lancers connected on nine three-pointers in the first 20 minutes.
S&T held a couple of leads in the early stages of play, taking an 11-10 lead on a lay-in by Ervin Sarajlic (St. Louis, MO/Oakville) at the 13:07 mark and again at 13-12 on a basket by Romain Louiserre (La Ferte Alais, France/Fredrick Fays) nearly two minutes later.
However, the Lancers took the advantage back on a three-pointer by Ty Rowell, which sparked a 12-0 run to give CBU an 11-point lead at 24-13 by the midway point of the half.
The Miners did get the lead back down to four with seven minutes to go in the half after Chris Harris(Antioch, IL/Lake Forest Academy) made one of two at the line, but S&T was outscored 19-4 over the balance of the half and trailed 43-24 after Cory Lange's buzzer-beating three-pointer to close the period.
S&T came out strong in the second half, making seven of its first eight shots and cutting the lead to 13 in the early minutes. CBU did get the margin back to as much as 21, but the Miners cut it back to 13 on three occasions and eventually got it down to 11 with under three minutes to play, which would be the final margin in the contest.
Harris led the Miners with 22 points and Sarajlic finished with 17, including five of S&T's seven three-pointers in the contest. The Miners also got nine points from Sebastian Ferenc (Zgierz, Poland/).
Bul Kuol led the Lancers with 17 as he also connected five times from beyond the arc; CBU made 14 three-pointers in the game and had three players in double figures. The Miners did hold Kalidou Diouf, who was leading the Lancers in scoring heading into the game with an averaging of nearly 18 points a game, to just seven points on the night.
An ice cold first half from the floor doomed Missouri S&T's men's basketball team Saturday night, as the Miners dropped their second contest on their trip to the west coast with a 70-50 setback to Academy of Art in the California Baptist Thanksgiving Classic.
The Miners missed their final 16 shots from the field in the first half to fall into an 18-point hole by the intermission and were unable to make a significant dent into the Urban Knights' lead in the final 20 minutes as they fell to 1-4 on the year.
S&T hit four of its first seven shots from the field in Saturday's game and a three-pointer by Ervin Sarajlic (St. Louis, MO/Oakville) with exactly 16 minutes to go in the first half gave the Miners a 10-6 lead. However, Sarajlic's basket ended up being the last field goal the Miners would make in the first half.
With the score tied at 11 midway through the first half, Romain Louiserre (La Ferte Alais, France/Fredrick Fays) made one-of-two at the free throw line to give the Miners a one-point lead, but the Urban Knights (1-5) got a second chance opportunity on their next trip down the floor and cashed it in when Stefan Milivojevic drained a three-pointer to put Academy of Art into the lead.
That three-pointer started an 18-0 run that built the lead to 17 by the 2:29 mark before Louiserre halted the string of points with a pair of free throws.
S&T shot only 17.4 percent in the first half and finished the contest at 33.3 percent.
Sebastian Ferenc (Zgierz, Poland/) led S&T with 13 points and Louiserre also ended up in double figures with 10. The Miners made only two three-point baskets in the game, both of which came in the first four minutes of the contest.
Academy of Art's Nick Conway led all scorers with 14 points, as the Urban Knights made 43.8 percent of their attempts from the field.
The Miners will resume play with its Great Lakes Valley Conference opener next Saturday when they host Illinois Springfield at 3 p.m. at Billy Key Court.