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Saints fall in the Fiesta Bowl semifinals to South Plains

Saints fall in the Fiesta Bowl semifinals to South Plains

MESA, Ariz. – The Saints men's basketball team lost to South Plains College, 62-58, on Saturday in the semifinals of the Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout. Seward fell to 7-5 on the season and will face New Mexico Junior College at 7 p.m. on Sunday in the third-place game. 

At the end of the game, the Saints still had a chance, trailing 59-56, but a three by Kyle Cardaci came up short with 15 seconds left and the Texans added free throws to seal the victory.

Seward started the game off quick by taking a 10-4 advantage with 14:08 remaining, but South Plains battled back to capture a 25-23 lead on Jevonnie Scott's jump shot at the 3:16 mark. The Saints went scoreless in the final two minutes and trailed the Texans, 29-25, at the half.

South Plains began the second half on a 9-2 run to open a 38-27 lead. The Saints responded with a 15-5 run to regain the lead at 47-45 on a mid-range jump shot by Rostyslav Novitskyi.

Seward trailed late in the second half, but stayed within one possession for the final five minutes. Stephen Takyi knocked down two free throws with 1:26 left to get the Saints to within one at 57-56. 

South Plains, which improved to 9-4 overall, was led by Rivaldo Soares with 12 points. Benjamin Bayela added nine points and Junior Farquhar had a double-double with eight points and eight rebounds for the Texans.

The Saints were paced by Branton McCrary with 16 points and four rebounds and Samuel Henderson with 11 points.