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Titans unable to do the little things in loss to Clippers

Rodney Hounshell and Lezjon Bonds, men's basketball
Rodney Hounshell and Lezjon Bonds

Unlike every other game this season, the Titans were unable to adjust on both ends in a 100-88 loss to South Puget Sound.

How it happened: It was the Clippers that started hot, scoring nine of the first 11 points. The Titans would make it a two-point game, 20-18, after a Jake Willemsen three with 11:30 remaining in the 1st half. A Tarik Cool jump shot cut the lead to one, after the Clippers almost extended it to double-digits, with 4:02 to go. Tarik Cool made two free throws to end the half but were down 46-38.

The Titans struggled with the Clippers zone, but still shot 45.5 percent thanks to a plus nine advantage from three and some individual offensive brilliance. The problem was the Clippers shot 51.4 percent and were slightly better in most aspects of the game. Tarik Cool had a game-high 14 points and four assists at half.

A pair of Anthony Braggs threes gave the Clippers a 14-point lead early in the 2nd half. A 9-0 Titan run cut the deficit to five, but the Clippers always had an answer; a 7-0 run would push the lead back to double-digits. A Clipper three with 8:42 remaining gave them their largest lead of the game, 26, 79-53. The Titans didn't go away quietly, but their deficit was to large as they fell 100-88.

The Titans held South Puget Sound to 42.9 percent shooting, but 15 fouls (some at the end to try and extend the game) and an 18-22 mark is what sunk the Titans. The Titans shot 50 percent and made 16-21 free throws, but a lack of ball movement (nine turnovers and only eight assists) is what stalled the offense.

Tarik Cool added 11 more points and Lucas Wilson came off the bench to spark the offense with all 19 of his career-high points.

What/who stood out: The Titans struggled to keep their player in front of them and they struggled to move the ball against the Clippers 1st half zone. They had 17 assists and 14 turnovers, the second game in a row with less than 20 assists. Despite the loss, the Titans battle back each time the Clippers made a run and it was the little things that kept them from having an opportunity to come back in a game they never led in.

Tarik Cool continued to be great offensively, scoring 25 points and dishing six assists. Cool is the only NWAC player averaging 20 plus ppg (24.9, 2nd best) and six plus assists (6.4, 3rd best). Lucas Wilson was a man among boys, getting to the rim and line whenever he wanted to; finishing with double-digit free throw attempts for the third time in six games; all coming in the last four games. Wilson leads the NWAC in free throw attempts per 40 minutes at 15.8, next best averages 11.6, and is a player who has only played four games.

What it means: From a standing's perspective, zero. These games are purely to gauge your team and opponents, because the NWAC seeds teams based on their final conference standing; non-conference is a glorified preseason. They are 7-1.

What's next: The Titans head to Walla Walla, WA and face the host Warriors on Friday Dec. 14 at 8 p.m.