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Free Throw Shooting Woes Sink St. Mary’s

San Antonio – St. Mary’s University hit on just 46.9 percent of their free throws and fell to Abilene Christian University, 70-68, in non-conference men’s basketball action Saturday night at Bill Greehey Arena.

While the Rattlers were hitting on just 46.9 percent (15-32) of their free throws, the Wildcats made 77.8 percent (21-27) and hit on 65.2 percent of their shots from the field in the second half. To combat their free throw woes the Rattlers committed just 12 turnovers and made 7-of-15 shots from three-point range.

St. Mary’s had a six-point lead at the break (32-26), but the Wildcats took control to start the second period. A Norman Anderson three-pointer started the rally and keyed a 9-2 run, which gave ACU a 35-34 lead. After the Rattlers tied things back at 41-41, the Wildcats went on a 6-0 run to take a 47-41 lead with 11:11 to play. St. Mary’s battled back several times and when Latez Williams (Jr., Hamilton, Ohio) slammed home an alley-oop dunk with 3:01 left, the Rattlers had cut the lead to one point at 62-61.

ACU increased its lead to six with just 1:19 to play before the Rattlers rallied again. Robert Owens (So., Oakwood) hit a driving layup to cut the lead to four, then a turnover led to another layup, this one by Williams and the lead was down to two. After Tiago Souza gave the Wildcats a four-point advantage with a layup, Marcus Hill (Jr., Longview) came back with a three-pointer with just seven seconds left to make it a one-point ball game. Phillip Brooks made 1-of-2 free throws, giving the Rattlers a chance for the win, but Cortnie Ross forced a turnover as time expired.

Williams had his first double-double as a Rattler with 18 points and 10 rebounds. He hit on 7-of-11 shots from the field and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. Hill reached double figures for the second straight game with 13 points, including three three-pointers.

For the Wildcats three players scored in double figures, led by Brooks, who had a game-high 19 points. Marcos Hubner (15 points) and Souza (13 points) also scored in double figures for the Widlcats.

With the loss the Rattlers fell to 4-4 overall, while Abilene Christian improved to 7-3. St. Mary’s will return to action on Tuesday when it hosts the River City Classic. Games will start at noon with the Rattlers taking on Missouri Western State College at 7:30 p.m.