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Saints fall in Conference opener against Butler

Saints fall in Conference opener against Butler

LIBERAL, Kan.- Seward County College Men's basketball falls to Butler Community College in the Greenhouse 71-67 falling to 5-2 on the season and 0-1 in the conference play. This is the first loss in 21 games at home for the Seward Men's basketball team and lost their conference opener for the fourth straight year, dating back to 2016.

In the first half, the Saints would lead 31-22 with 5:24 remaining with a 3-point shot by Nika Metshvarishvili. This would be the largest lead of the game for either team. The Grizzlies battled back before halftime to make it a 3-point game at the half 36-33 but the Saints would still lead.

The second half would start with the Saints keeping the Grizzles at least 2 points away but the Saints would go on a 7-0 run to take a 57-49 lead and hold on to that lead until 6:22 left in the second half. Butler would respond with an 11-2 run to claim the lead 60-59 with 4:28 remaining.

Grizzles would start to attack the rim and get back to back baskets against the Saints defense. At the 2-minute mark, Branton McCrary would knock down a three to get the Saints within one point 65-64. The Saints would go one of two from the free-throw line but remained within one possession of the Grizzles 67-65. The Grizzles would run the clock down on their offensive possession and with: 28 seconds left in the game the Grizzles Tracy Jones would make a two-possession game at 69-65.

Trying to extend the game the Saints would foul the Grizzles, but they would knock down both of their free-throws to put the game away 71-67.

The Saints outshot the Grizzles from the field shooting 43.7% compared to 41% for Butler. The difference in the game was the free-throw shooting and rebounding for the Grizzles outperforming the Saints. The Grizzlies shot 23-29 from the free-throw line and pulled down a total of 42 rebounds and 13 offensive rebounds. The Saints would shoot 7-14 from the free-throw line and had 30 rebounds in the contest.

The Saints were led by Branton McCrary and Nika Metskhvarishvili with a team-high 15 points. Also, in double digits for Seward County was Surakata Jawara with 15 points and added 10 rebounds for his second straight game with a double-double.

Butler's Grehlon Easter led the Grizzlies in scoring with 17 points and connected on a perfect 9-9 from the free-throw line.

The Saints will be back on the road Saturday to take on Cloud County at 6 PM.