Randy Duke '18
The Aces came up short in a 52-51 loss to Springfield on Saturday night. LM led by as many as seven in the third, but couldn?t close the door against a pesky Cougars team that played hard, smart and clutch.
The Aces faced a number of obstacles on Monday, mostly of their own doing. Four of the five Aces? starters got into early foul trouble, putting Springfield in the bonus for much of the first half. For the game, Springfield shot 28 free throws, compared the Aces' 12. On the offensive end, the Aces played much of the game on the perimeter, settling for threes and failing to find gaps in the Cougars? zone. Perhaps because of the foul situation, the Aces seemed to lack the aggressive edge they had played with through much of the last five games.
Up 23-22 at half, LM made a run to open the third quarter. The Aces reeled off seven straight points to take a 35-28 advantage and appeared to be on the verge of seizing control. But a costly foul on a three-point shooter and a technical foul gave the Cougars life. The third quarter ended with LM up 42-37.
Springfield went on a 9-3 run to open the final frame and took their first lead since the first quarter at 46-45. The two teams traded buckets down the stretch and LM had possession down one with less than 30 seconds to play. LM turned the ball over, however, and was forced to foul. Springfield missed the front end of a one-and-one setting up a final LM attempt at the basket. An Aces three-pointer rimmed out before the buzzer and Springfield celebrated the victory.
It was a frustrating loss after a promising stretch of games, but credit a Springfield squad that has been playing excellent basketball of late. LM has been on the positive side of a few close games in league play this season. The tables turned on Saturday, but hopefully the game will serve as an important wake-up call. The Central League is as competitive as ever this season and LM will need to be on top of its game the rest of the way. The next test comes against a strong Ridley squad on Wednesday night at home. Tip-off is 7 PM.