The eighth ranked Rolla boys basketball team faced off against Kickapoo for an Ozark Conference game on Friday, Feb. 8. The Bulldogs were ice cold in the first half and couldn't quite finish a late comeback in a 57-47 loss.

The Rolla offense found their fair share of looks early on, but couldn't get shots to fall early against Kickapoo. The Bulldogs scored just nine points in the quarter sparked by a three from Trey Brown, but still trailed 15-9 at the end of the quarter. While Rolla was cold in the first, they were frozen in the second, as they were held scoreless for the first six minutes of the quarter and trailed by as many as 16 in the frame. The Bulldogs managed to finish the quarter with a 5-0 run for their only points in the second and went into the half in a 25-14 hole. 

The Bulldogs finally got the spark they needed in the third quarter thanks to some hot shooting from behind the arc. Brown knocked down a trio of threes in the quarter on his was to an 11 point quarter, while Muluken Pritchett added two more threes. Rolla went off for 17 points in the quarter, while holding Kickapoo to just eight points. The big quarter from behind the arc cut the deficit to 34-31 heading into the fourth.

Rolla was able to tie the game early in the fourth on a three by RJ Alfred and managed to stay within striking range for the first half of the quarter. After the midway point, Rolla had another cold stretch, which allowed Kickapoo to put the game away with a 7-0. Rolla got a late spark from Alec Buhr, who scored eight points and knocked down a pair of threes in the quarter, but clutch free throw shooting from Kickpoo put the Rolla comeback on hold. Kickapoo was 10-13 from the charity stripe in the quarter to beat the Bulldogs 57-47.

"They were big and fast and aggressive defensively, so we weren't getting our shots released quite the same as we normally do in the first half because we were having to rush a little bit," said head coach Mark Miller of the rough first half. "The other thing was we didn't have any activity on offense. We were standing. We didn't get much movement and we changed that in the second half." 

Brown provided Rolla with some much needed offense, scoring 16 points in the loss. Buhr added 13 points, while Pritchett and Trey Quick each added six. Alfred and Blaize Klossner each chipped in another three points.

"Trey made some shots in the second half and we got those shots because guys were attacking and finding him on the kick," said coach Miller. Everyone out there gave everything they had. Tonight just wasn't our night. We didn't shoot the ball particularly well and just had a real flat second quarter, but I like how we hung in there and guys just maintained their composure and hung in there until the very end."

Rolla will look to bounce back when they host Camdenton for another Ozark Conference matchup on Tuesday, Feb, 12.