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No. 3 Titans loose their Southern Region opener

Lucas Wilson, men's basketball
Lucas Wilson, middle, drives to the rim against Eric McKinstry (34) during the Titans 93-81 loss to Chemeketa.

In the first playoff counting game the Titans came out flat and watch the Storm run away with what would be the Titans second loss of the season.

How it happened: The game started with a technical foul on Cody Mathis that came from warm-ups. The proceeding game followed that theme, the Storm scored 22 of the first 28 points and had the game's largest lead of 19, 42-19, with 4:14 remaining in the 1st half.  

The Titans closed the half on a 12-8 run to cut the deficit to 15, 35-50.

The Titans shot 26.7 percent and allowed the Storm to shoot 50 percent.

Tashon Brown was big off the bench with nine points on 3-5 shooting from three; Lucas Wilson had eight points, six rebounds and two blocks; Tarik Cool had nine points, four assists and two rebounds.

The start of the 2nd half was the opposite of the 1st, as the Titans went on a 28-9 run to open the half and had 63-59 lead with 12:54 remaining. During the run the Titans used a full court press to force six turnovers.

The Titans maintained their lead until the Storm tied it at 63 with 9:04 remain; this would be the start of a poor shooting finish to the half as they only scored 18 points in the final 12:54 and five of them came in the last minute when the game was already decided.

The Titans did themselves no favors by committing 19 fouls, five of them did come in the last two minutes with outcome decided. The 19 fouls led to 26 free throw attempts for the Storm; they were plus 12 at the line, the final margin of victory. Lucas Wilson and Lezjon Bonds fouled out and Cody Mathis had four fouls.

Despite fouling out, Lucas Wilson had nine points, four rebounds an assist and steal in only 11 minutes. Tarik Cool had 13 points and Rodney Hounshell had 11. After a great 1st half, Tashon Brown only got one shot and had one point.

The Titans shot 47.2 percent and allowed 52.4 percent.

What/who stood out: The Titans allowed their first opponent to shoot over 50 percent, allowing 50.9 percent shooting. After committing 28 fouls, the Titans have committed 20 or more in all but one NWAC game. They recorded 18 assists, the second most against an NWAC opponent; shot 28.6 percent from three, 12-42, second worst to a 25 percent mark against Spokane. The Titans 35.8 percent shooting was also a season-low.

Tarik Cool had 22 points and has scored 20 or more in every NWAC game this season; his 42.9 percent from the field and 18.2 from three were season-lows. Lucas Wilson had his second consecutive NWAC double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes.

What it means: The Titans lose an important game because Chemeketa is always tough to play on the road and winning at home separates the top and bottom in league play. This game and the remaining 15 league games are the only games that count when playoff seeding happens, and only the top four in the region will make the playoffs. The Titans are now 12-2 overall and 0-1 in league.

What's next: The Titans play at Clark (7-4, 0-1) on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.