Playing their third game in four days, the Tiger men were hoping to right the ship against Johnson & Wales University after a tough loss on the road against Oklahoma Wesleyan on Saturday. The Wildcats came into tonight's contest with a deceiving 8-12 record. They have three quality wins over KCAC teams. Twice they defeated Bethany College and they also dispatched the Sterling College Warriors. The Tigers knew going in this was going to be a battle, and Coach Romero wasn't sure how his teams' legs were going to hold up after so many games.
In the first half things went back and forth with neither team able to put any distance between themselves and their opponent. Despite shooting poorly in the first half, 15 of 35, the Tigers hung around keeping the game close. Late in the half, the Tigers went on a small run and finished the half with a six point lead 35-29.
In the second half the Tigers began to execute more efficiently on both ends of the floor. Midway through the period, the Tigers had extended their lead to 15 and it looked like they were going to be able to put it on cruise control and coast to an easy victory. The Wildcats however had other plans. They took advantage of a couple of careless trips down the floor by the Tigers, and within a couple of minutes, the Tiger lead was back down to single digits. Down the stretch the Wildcats were only able to shrink the deficit to six points on a couple of occasions. With under two minutes to play the Wildcats began to put the Tigers on the line hoping their poor free throw shooting of the first half would reemerge. The Tigers were clutch down stretch, not missing a free throw opportunity and they wound up with a nine point victory 80-71.
Coach Romero commented, "I thought our guys responded well for playing three games in four days. We have to continue to find ways to improve on our defense and our defensive rebounding and transition defense. I was pleased Chris' and Don's effort on the glass, Sean (Posey) also stepped up and hit some clutch free throws to seal the win tonight."
Christopher Jones led the way for the Tigers with another double double. He tallied 27 point to lead all scorers, and grabbed 10 rebounds. Senior Don Gavin also had a double double. He scored 21 points and hauled in 11 rebounds. Jones and Gavin were joined in double figures by Sean Posey who scored 13 points. Five of his points came from free throws down the stretch. The only negative for the Tigers was the fact that they gave up 25 offensive rebounds to the Wildcats.
The Tigers are now 13-3 on the season. They get a few days off before they play Peru State on Friday. The Bobcats come to town for a 7:30 game at Ed Pyle Sports Complex.