ARLINGTON, Va. – A game that never saw a double-digit lead by either team along with 11 ties and 13 lead changes fell to the hands of Mary Washington on Saturday evening in the Verizon Sports Arena, as a last-second three-point attempt by Marymount men's basketball freshman Kiran Durant just missed and the Saints came up short, 69-67, in the CAC matchup.
The Saints move to 4-4 in league play, placing them in a tie for fifth with Frostburg State in the standings with one game left in the first half.
Although the Eagles held out for the win, Marymount pieced together a solid shooting game for the afternoon, going 23-for-43 for 53.5 percent. Leading the way for the day was junior Brandon Rogers with 20 points behind 50-percent shooting from beyond the arc (5-for-10). His five three-pointers tie a career best, a mark he set on the road earlier this season at St. Mary's College of Maryland.
Marymount got out to an early advantage in the game, building up its largest lead of seven by the 15:28 mark of the first half. However, the Eagles stayed close and the lead swapped 10 times through the 20-minute stretch until a strong offensive rebound and put back by sophomore Ryan Albert at the buzzer sent the Saints into the locker room with a 32-31 advantage.
In the half, MU shot 59.1 percent from the floor led by Rogers with 11, while freshman Steve Etienne, who earned his first career start, dished out five assists and registered three steals and four rebounds.
The second half remained close as well, seeing the Eagles work ahead by five with 1:30 remaining in the game, 65-60. Over the next 45 seconds, the Saints rattled off a 7-2 run that included a pair of free throws by Durant and sophomore Ibrahim Kamara and the fifth long ball by Rogers to tie the game up at 67-67 with 45 seconds remaining.
With a lot off action in the final minute, UMW forced a turnover and capitalized on a quick layup with nine seconds remaining to take a two-point lead. Calling a timeout on the other end, the Saints had one last go to either tie or win the game. Tight defense by the Eagles made an attempt inside the arc nearly impossible, so Durant fired up a three-point attempt from the top of the arc as time expired. Unfortunately, the ball went slightly too far into the backboard and off the front of the rim.
Senior Dimitri Rucker and Kamara finished the day not far behind Rogers' 20 points with 14 and 11, respectively, while Etienne added nine. Etienne also posted career bests in rebounds (8), assists (5) and blocks (2) while adding a game-high four steals.
The day's basketball doubleheader was labeled Alumni Day, as the men's basketball program celebrated its 30-year anniversary. At the half, the Saints honored a group of former players on the court including: Reed Scott '14, Pat Dumais '17, Johnathan Magnani '12, Davon Speight '11, Shaun Perkins '03, Ronnie Barbour Jr. '10, Aaron Walsh '13, Bobby Schaul '97, Michael Anderson '17, Scott Benson '91, and nine-year assistant coach Ted Bardach.
The Saints will close out the first half of league play on Wednesday, January 17, as they continue their four-game home stand with Penn State-Harrisburg. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m., in the Verizon Sports Arena.