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Freed-Hardeman University sees season conclude in Kansas City

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By Dustin Semore
FHU Sports Information Director

The No. 5-seeded Freed-Hardeman University lions went cold in the waning minutes of their NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship Presented by Ballogy round of 16 game against No. 1-seeded Grace (Ind.) College Lancers. In the last 10 minutes of play, FHU was 4-15 from the field while the Lancers pounded the paint to end FHU’s season with an 86-67 loss.
The Freed-Hardeman Lions (25-9) kept the first half close, answering each of Grace’s buckets. Geraldo Lane’s 3-pointer at the 16:24 mark of the half gave the Lions their first lead of the game at 9-8. Another triple from JaQuan Lax at 13:34 reclaimed a lead of 16-15 with 13:34 remaining before the intermission. Momentum began to shift the Lancers’ way late in the half when Grace went on a 9-0 run to end the opening frame with their largest lead at 42-32.
Grace (31-3) stormed out of the locker room to bucket seven straight to jump ahead to a 17-point advantage. The Lions began to turn up the defensive pressure, forcing turnovers and converting those to points. Lane’s 3-pointer was chased by layups from Lax, JJ Wheat, and Brandon Thomas. With the 17-point lead narrowed to single digits Law’s triple and Thomas’s layups pulled the Lions back to one possession, trailing the Lancers 57-54 with 10:30 remaining.
Despite the middle-minute heroics, Grace utilized another long scoring run, tallying 12 unanswered points to quench the FHU fire. The Lancers would outscore the Lions 12-5 in the final four minutes, putting an end to the Lions’ great season with an 86-67 final.
FHU’s defense did all it could by forcing 18 Grace turnovers and converting those to 16 points. While the Lancer forced half as many turnovers, nine, they made FHU pay for those by bucketing 13 points off of turnovers.
Grace’s 61% shooting from the field was the highest allowed by Freed-Hardeman this season with the Lions’ 34% day from the floor being their worst, one game out of just two where the Lions’ FG% was below 40%.
Peyton Law led the FHU charge, bucking 16 points and grabbing a team-high six rebounds. Brandon Thomas had the only other double-digit day by tallying 13 points.

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