It started bad and got worse for the Saints as Seward wrapped up a three game home stand Wednesday night against Pratt. The Saints trailed wire to wire and spent most of that time in a double digit hole. Down by 11 with under 3 minutes to go, Seward battled back to within 4 points but would get no closer in the 76-67 loss.
The Beavers came out hot as they did the first time these two locked up, pulling out to a 12-2 lead 5 minutes in. Donte McCarter knocked down a three to cut the deficit to 7 but as happened most of the night Pratt answered with a three of their own to push the lead back to 10. The two teams would go back and forth for most of the remainder of the half as Seward would cut into the lead but couldn’t seem to get stops when they needed them and found themselves down by 10 as time winded down. The teams would both go scoreless in the last three minutes of the first half and Tony Smith would knock down a three at the horn to put the teams in the locker room with Pratt holding a 33-26 advantage. Seward was outshot 48-33% by the Beavs in the first half but worked hard on the glass picking up 11 offensive rebounds to keep them in the game.
Seward came out energized in the second half quickly cutting the Pratt lead to just 2, four minutes in but Pratt would respond with a 6-0 run to recapture an 8 point lead. Trea Beck would get hot from the three point line and the Saints momentarily found themselves in a 14 point hole at 51-37 and would be looking up at that same deficit with 8 minutes to go in the game. a 7-0 run capped by 5 straight points from Jon Tassin had the Saints back in the game down just 7 one minute later but as they had done all night Pratt locked in from long range and pushed their lead back to double digits moments later. The Pratt lead stood at 11 with 3:13 to go but the Saints weren’t ready to quit fighting. They chipped the lead away to 7 with under 2 minutes to go and 4 with under a minute to go with a Robert Sigala free throw. That was as close as they would get however as Pratt drilled 6 free throws in a row down the stretch and finished the game on an 8-2 run to put the Saints away 76-67.
The conference’s leading offense in Seward was held to just 67 points from the Pratt zone as they shot just 37% in the game. The Saints were just 3 for 27 from the three point line in the contest including an 0 for 11 mark in the second half as they tried to come back. Another deflator on the night was the fact that Seward was in the double bonus for nearly 10 minutes in the second half but couldn’t seem to connect from the charity stripe when they most needed it as they missed 9 second half free throws and shot just 59% in the game from the line.
Individually the Saints were led by another strong performance from Latiq Agard inside who backed up his KJCCC Player of the Week nomination with a 20 point, 13 rebound effort while battling with 6’11 Illiwa Baldwin and 6’7 Jay Valerius down low all night. Marcus James was the only other Saint to find his way into double figures as he finished with 10 and 7 rebounds and Tony Smith could never find a way to get it going as he finished with just 7 points on 3 of 13 shooting.
The Saints fall to 8-4 in conference play and 19-7 on the season and will hit the road Saturday to take on a red hot Cloud County team in Concordia.