DEFIANCE, Ohio – After playing two exhibition games on the road, the Defiance College men's basketball team opened its 2019-20 regular season at home on Saturday with a dramatic 75-74 win over the Westminster College (Pa.) Titans in a non-conference game inside the Karl H. Weaner Community Center. The contest was also the season opener for the guests.
"It was really back and forth, neither team had much of a lead," Defiance head coach Scott Cutter said. "It was a very close game. I'm proud of our guys for sort of grinding it out.
"What it does for our guys is realize you've got to stick with it through your runs and through their runs, and just keep focused and not go off course of what we're trying to do."
With Defiance trailing 74-72, Sean Tyson (Columbus, Ohio/Centennial) made three free throws down the stretch, including two with 6.2 seconds left to give the Yellow Jackets the victory.
"He's a tough kid," Cutter said of Tyson. "That's one kid you don't have to worry about with adversity. He's going to play the next play no matter what happens. That's why I trust him with the ball in his hands in big moments."
The Yellow Jackets built their biggest lead, 28-15, with 9:19 to go in the first half before Westminster pulled to within three points, 36-33. DC led 39-33 at halftime but 12 lead changes followed. The Titans were held scoreless over the final 1:44.
Defiance hit 13-of-28 (46.4 percent) shots from three-point range while WC was 9 of 28 (32.1). The Yellow Jackets committed 13 turnovers to Westminster's 15.
Tyson ended with 20 points, along with game highs of six assists and three steals for DC while Marell Jordan (Lafayette, Ind./Jefferson) came off the bench to collect 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and a game-best four steals. Tyler Andrew (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central) scored 11 points, as did freshman Avonte Jones (Columbus, Ohio/Pickerington Central) in a reserve role.
Defiance is back home on Friday to host the 45th Annual Purple and Gold Tournament. The Yellow Jackets play Spalding University at 5 p.m., followed by a matchup between Great Lakes Christian College and Olivet College at approximately 7 p.m.