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Saint Francis rallies fall short in home defeat

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For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis via Twitter at Tom101010.

Cougars held off by hot Taylor squad

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 11:50 pm

Saint Francis went cold against a very hot team on Tuesday and fell 68-56 to 28th-ranked Taylor in Crossroads League men's basketball action at the Hutzell Athletic Center.

The Cougars (15-10, 7-6 CL) shot just 31 percent in the final 20 minutes and got outscored 34-26. Saint Francis trimmed its deficit to as many as four points on a couple pof second half occasions, but Taylor pulled away for its sixth consecutive win.

The Trojans have now swept the Cougars this season (it is the first time since 2005-06) and are 8-2 over their past 10 games.

Sophomore Josh Hogan led Saint Francis with 16 points, including 11 in the second half, while junior Scott Kohne, who entered the game averaging 20 points per game, shot just 5-for-17 and finished with 11 points.

Senior Ethan Hussey added 10 points in the defeat.

"I'm pleased with the way we competed tonight," Cougar coach Chad LaCross said in a release. "We battled back to get in position to win the game, but couldn't get a stop when we need it most. They executed when they needed to and you've just got to give them credit."

Taylor's Nate Kasper led all scorers with 19 points, while Tommy Peller added 16 and Casey Coons 12.

The Trojans took a 34-30 lead at halftime and stretched it out early in the second half.

After the Trojans built their advantage to 40-32, Saint Francis began to chip away and a Brad Sneary bucket at the 14:38 mark cut the Cougar deficit to 40-36. Sneary was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw.

Saint Francis had three more opportunities to climb closer, but missed each time and the Trojans ran off eight quick unanswered points to take a 48-36 when Kasper completed a 3-point play at 11:34.

The Trojans still led 59-51 with 4:22 to play, but Hogan stole the ball, was fouled intentionally and made two free throws at 3:54.

Saint Francis retained possession on the flagrant foul call and Kohne scored, which allowed the Cougars a chance to pull to within three with 3:39 to play. However, Kohne missed the free throw and Peller buried a 3-pointer for a 62-55 Taylor lead with 3:08 left.

"That was the play of the game for Taylor," LaCross said. "You've got to give him credit, he hit the shot."

Kohne and Hogan both missed shots through a stretch that culminated with Josh Riikonen scoring for the Trojans at the 1:20 mark, which gave the visitors a 64-55 with 1:20 to play.

In the first half, Saint Francis held early three-point advantages, the last time at 17-14 with 12:51 to play on a Kevin Bloom 3-pointer (13:38) and a Kyle Sovine short hook.

Kasper scored on back-to-back Taylor possessions that gave the Trojans the lead, 18-17, with 11:42 to play in the first half.

Hogan scored off a feed from Kohne for the Cougars' last lead, 23-22 with 8:23 to play.

Ian Dutcher scored on a rebound at 7:44 for a 24-23 Taylor lead and the Trojans led by as many as nine points, 34-25 on Peller's basket with 3:27 to play, before settling for a four-point advantage at halftime.

The Cougars will travel to 13th-ranked Bethel on Saturday at 3 p.m.