The McMurry men's basketball team came up just short of capturing the NCCAA Central Regional crown as it was defeated in the final game, 68-66, at the hands of Mid-America Christian University on Saturday afternoon.
Over the first 14 minutes of the contest, the War Hawks were held to just 16 points and found themselves down 11, 27-16, with just 6:10 remaining in the contest. Over the last six minutes of the half, McM came roaring back, outscoring the Evangels, 23-8, to take a four point lead. Nine points by Antonio Bell as well as seven from Jackson and five by Kaylim Noel accounted for most of the scoring.
A three pointer by Noel gave the War Hawks the 39-35 advantage with 1:22 left to play in the half and the teams would go into the break with the same score.
At the beginning of the second half, the War Hawks pushed their lead to as many as nine points, 50-41, on a jumper by Alfred Perez with 15:46 remaining. MACU would not go away, however, as they battled back with an 11-2 run, and cut the lead to two on a three by Angelo Lewis, 54-52 with 9:52 left.
The War Hawks would keep the Evangels at bay and would have a six-point lead, 66-60, on a basket by Thomas Brandsma with 4:30 remaining in the game. However, that would be the last basket that the War Hawks would score in the game.
MACU would tie the game over the next three minutes with three points apiece from Charlie Shorter and Angelo Lewis to knot the game at 66-66. After a missed three-point shot by Connor Robinson, the Evangels had a chance to take the lead.
Shorter went one-on-one with Jackson, and Jackson made a great defensive play, stealing the ball away from Shorter, but then turned the ball over on the fast break to give the ball back to MACU.
With 21 seconds to play, Lewis had the ball once again and drove the lane for the two-point basket to give the Evangels the two point lead.
The War Hawks had an opportunity to win the game at the end of regulation but they could not convert, and fell by the score of 68-66.
Offensively, McM was led by Jackson's 19 points. Bell finished with 14 points off the bench while Alfred Perez added 11 points and Noel finished with nine.
For the Evangels, Lewis led all scorers with 23 points. Shorter finished the game with 12 points and Camilo Valenica scored 9.
The War Hawks end the season with an overall record of 19-10 in their first season of NCAA Division-II competition.
Information for this story provided by McMurry Sports Information.