By Taylor Hodges
FHU Sports Information Director
Back in the AMC Tournament for the first time since 2017, the Lions basketball team (18-10, 15-8 AMC) fell short to Columbia College (20-11, 14-8 AMC) 80-77 in the quarterfinals of a tightly-contested game from start to finish.
Both teams shot the ball well throughout the game, but the Cougars kept a slight edge over the Lions in all three categories. It was the Lions, though, who took a three-point lead heading into the break.
FHU came out hot to start the second half as well, jumping out to an 11-2 run to begin the final 20 minutes, mostly behind the strong three-point shooting of Konstantin Dotsenko. The freshman would go on to knock down three from deep in the game and finish with a team-high 21 points in the contest.
Columbia went on a long run of their own and ended up taking a two-point lead with just over six minutes left in the game, their first lead since the 15:17 mark in the first half.
The Cougars would lead by as many as five before the Lions were able to tie it up at 70 and then take a 71-70 lead with 2:44 to go thanks to two free throws by the Lions’ lone senior Bryan Battle.
Columbia would go to the other end and knock down a three, but Francis Agbata was able to answer with a clutch jump hook to tie the game back up with 1:28 to go. The Lions defense struggled to get the key stop they needed down the stretch, and free throws late would eventually seal the deal for the Cougars and send them to the AMC Semifinals on Friday.
Battle finished with 19 points in his final game in a Lions uniform. Kortland Martin rounded out the double-figure scorers with 15 points.
It was a magical and unexpected run by this Lions team who won just a combined 17 games in the last two seasons, which was surpassed this season with 18 wins. They finish the season top five in the nation in 3-pointers made per game at exactly 11 and were one of the best-shooting teams in the AMC.
They were the best team in the league in 3-point offense, knocking down 297 total from deep at 38 percent. They were second in the league in scoring, averaging 82.41 points per game.
Silas Clark was named as the Lions’ representative for the Champions of Character team. He was also named to the Academic All-Conference team alongside Avery Thrasher, Ben Brown, Dawson Bailey, Agbata, Hunter Scurlock, Jackson Bennet and Logan Bonds.