MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.—In the Sun Conference Game of the Week, No. 15 Southeastern fell to the top team in conference play, No. 14 St. Thomas by a score of 86-81. The loss dropped the Fire to 12-5 (5-3 TSC) on the year.
With their number one spot in league play in jeopardy, the Bobcats came out of the gates on a tear. STU knocked down 83.3% of their shots to start the contest and connected on three of their first five attempts from downtown as the Bobcats opened up a double-digit advantage over SEU early in the game.
Josiah Barsh kept Southeastern barely within striking distance by scoring six of SEU’s first seven points as St. Thomas led 17-7 just five minutes in. Barsh finished with 18 points in the game.
After trailing by 13 with 8:22 remaining in the first half, the Fire then mounted a monumental run. Fueled by 14 quick points by senior Ryan Atkins, Southeastern stormed back, eliminating a 13-point deficit in the span of three and a half minutes to take their first lead of the contest 40-39.
Heading into the break, the Fire maintained a one-point lead over the Bobcats 46-45. Southeastern shot 60% (18-30) from the field in the first twenty minutes and made 57.1% (4-7) of their shots from beyond the arc, while St. Thomas cooled off to 50% from the field and 38.5% (5-13) from three.
Poor rebounding and free throw shooting ultimately cost the Fire in the second half of play. Although Southeastern opened the second period on a 5-0 run and led as late as with 6:22 left, second chances from extra possessions allowed STU to claim the competition.
St. Thomas out-rebounded the Fire 44-26 in the game, while converting the ensuing extra possessions into 21 second chance points. Raheem Bowman led the Bobcats on the boards with 13 to go along with his game-high 26 points.
The Fire also struggled from the charity stripe, which proved vital down the stretch of the tight contest. Southeastern was unable to connect on 13 of their 33 attempts from the line, compared to only four misses from St. Thomas in the five-point game.
Atkins, who went 9-10 on free throw attempts, was the lone bright spot at the line for the Fire. He concluded the night with a team-high 25 points.
SEU will be back on the court looking to end a three-game losing skid when they take on Florida Memorial in the Furnace on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.