DEFIANCE, OHIO -- The Defiance College men's basketball team outscored Anderson (Ind.) University, 17-8, in the final 1:05 of the game with a fleury of three-pointers and whittled a 14-point deficit down to three points in that span. But the Yellow Jackets fell shy of the comeback losing, 101-96, in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference game at the Karl H. Weaner Center.
Defiance connected on five straight triples in the final minute, including three triples from senior Devin Mangas (Leipsic) who finished the night with a career-high 36 points to lead all scorers. Mangas shot 13-of-20 from the floor (65.0 percent), including seven-of-nine (77.8 percent) from long range. He also grabbed a team-best eight rebounds.
Sophomore Randall Aikins, Jr. (Detroit, Mich./Plymouth) also had an impressive night with 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting (58.8 percent). Senior Chris Holmes (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) rounded out the high scorers for DC with 13 points to go along with seven rebounds.
The two teams played a competitive early first half with four lead changes and four ties within the opening five minutes. With the score tied at 10-10, Anderson (7-5, 4-1 HCAC) scored 15 straight points as part of a 19-1 scoring run to regain the lead with a commanding 18-point margin, 29-11, at the 10:35 mark.
Defiance (3-9, 2-3 HCAC) looked to make a dent in the deficit with an ensuing 5-0 mini run with all points coming from Aikins, making the score 29-16, with just under 10 minutes to go before the half. Each run made by the Jackets would be answered by the Ravens as they equaled their largest lead of the period of 18 points, 47-29, with 4:09 remaining en route to boasting a 15-point advantage, 51-36, at halftime.
Anderson maintained their double-figure lead for the majority of the second half and posted its largest lead of the game of 20 points, 64-44, with 15:12 remaining. The Ravens led by 18 points, 78-60, with 5:38 left when the Yellow Jackets began to rally, beginning with an ensuing 10-0 run that ended in a layup by Holmes, cutting the deficit to eight points, 78-70, at the 3:20 mark.
Just as in the first half, however, Anderson answered any potential DC run and later increased its lead back to a more comfortable 12 points, 85-73, with 2:22 to go. The margin swung back-and-forth between double digits and single figures for the next 45 seconds, but the combination of eight successful free-throws by the Ravens and one-of-two made shots by the Jackets, gave Anderson a 14-point lead, 93-79, with 1:05 on the clock.
Then the DC shooting caught fire with its next six shot attempts finding the bottom of the net, with six of those shots coming from behind the arc, as the Yellow Jackets found themselves down by just three points, 99-96, with 15 seconds in the game. But Anderson put the game away with a pair of free-throws following the final DC triple by Mangas, to go up by five points, 101-96, with 12 seconds to go and hung on for the five-point victory.
The final 16 points for the Ravens since the 1:37 mark of the second half came at the charity stripe as they converted all but two of their attempts down the stretch (16-of-18 overall).
Defiance will next take on Transylvania (Ky.) University in a HCAC game on Saturday, Jan. 7 at the Weaner Center. The game will be part of a basketball doubleheader with the DC women's team. The women will tip-off against the Pioneers at 1 p.m., followed by the men at 3 p.m.