DEFIANCE, OHIO -- A cold shooting second half erased a 14-point halftime lead as the Defiance College men's basketball team lost to Earlham (Ind.) College, 74-72, in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference game at the Karl H. Weaner Center.
Defiance (4-16, 3-10 HCAC) outscored Earlham (6-14, 2-11 HCAC), 49-35, in the first half despite the Quakers shooting 51.9 percent (14-of-27) in the period, but the Yellow Jackets took nearly twice as many shot attempts which resulted in more made baskets to have the sizeable advantage.
Earlham led early in the first half, 10-4, before Defiance slowly began to swing momentum in its favor. Trailing by two points, 17-15, at the 10:50 mark, the Jackets went on a 12-2 scoring run that ended in a three-pointer by senior Michael Parker (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North), one of his six triples on the night, and gave DC an eight-point margin, 27-19, with 7:34 to play in the half.
The Quakers later pulled to within three points, 30-27, just under the five-and-a-half minute mark when a series of Defiance scoring runs resulted in the Yellow Jackets outscoring Earlham, 19-8, to end the period and boast a 49-35 lead at halftime.
The second half saw the Earlham offense find its stride and outscored DC, 39-23. The Jackets maintained their double-figure lead in the early minutes of the final period that included a 14-point margin, 57-43, at the 16:19 mark. The Quakers then began to make their move thanks to a 17-2 run which gave Earlham its first lead since the 10:27 mark of the first half with a score of 60-59.
The two teams then traded leads before Earlham took the advantage with a 9-0 run to go up by five points, 69-64, with 6:42 remaining. Defiance made one last rally attempt and evened the game at 69-69 thanks to a layup by sophomore Randall Aikins, Jr. (Detroit, Mich./Plymouth) and another triple by Parker.
Earlham answered the five straight Defiance points with five straight of its own to regain a five-point edge, 74-69, with under a minute to go. Following Parker's sixth three-pointer of the game to cut the deficit to two points, 74-72, Defiance got the ball back after a Quaker miss shot, to set up a possible game-tying, or game-winning, shot attempt for the Jackets.
After back-to-back timeouts by Defiance, and with three seconds left, Parker found himself in the corner and put up a shot from behind the arc. But the shot was blocked as it left his hand and the Quakers went on to post the 74-72 come-from-behind win.
Defiance ended up shooting 38.9 percent (28-of-72) for the game and 28.1 percent (nine-of-32) from long range. Earlham finished the game shooting 52.8 percent (28-of-53) and 55.0 percent (11-of-20) from three-point range.
The Jackets were led in scoring by Parker with 24 points on nine-of-21 shooting (42.9 percent) overall and six-of-18 (33.3 percent) from long range. Aikins was the only other DC player in double figures with 12 points and also had a game-tying high four assists. In addition, freshman Payton Ross (Indianapolis, Ind./Arlington) grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
Defiance will next travel to Franklin, Ind. for a HCAC game against Franklin (Ind.) College on Saturday, Feb. 4. The game will be part of a basketball doubleheader with the Yellow Jacket women's team. The women will tip-off against the Grizzlies at 2 p.m., followed by the men's game at 4 p.m.