Sunday, 6 September 2009

Chattanooga 78, York 71

Lions fall to NCAA Chattanooga in exhibition affair

A fourth quarter comeback by the York University Lions men’s basketball team fell just short on Saturday night in a 78-71 loss to the visiting Chattanooga Mocs at Tait McKenzie Centre.

The Lions outscored the Mocs 23-14 in the final frame but were ultimately too far back to catch them. However, they did stay close to a team that is less than one year removed from an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Chattanooga won the Southern Conference championship last year before falling to No. 3 UConn in the first round of the “March Madness” tournament.

In Saturday evening’s contest, rookie forward Dejan Kravic (London, Ont.) had an impressive first game in a Lions uniform, recording a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. He was one of four Lions to finish the contest with a double-digit point total; sophomore point guard David Tyndale (Mississauga, Ont.) had a team-high 13 points and five assists, John LaFontaine (Whitby, Ont.) scored 10 points and Justin Bell (Mississauga, Ont.), also a rookie, recorded 11.

Leading the way for the Mocs was Ricky Taylor (Brownsville, Tenn.) with 19 points while DeAntre Jefferson (Bloomington, Ill.), Josh Odem (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Jeremy Saffore (Nashville) all finished with 10. Point guard Keegan Bell (Hazel Green, Ala.) also had a big game with 11 assists.

Overall, the game was a spirited affair that featured many charging calls and an excited home crowd. Coming into the game only hours after a loss to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, the Chattanooga players got off to a quick start and led 22-12 after one quarter. York was able to keep the second quarter closer but trailed 42-30 at half time.

The Mocs continued to pull away in the third despite efforts by the home team to keep them off the scoreboard. Down by 16 with one quarter left, the Lions, led by Tyndale, turned up the pressure and nearly pulled even with Chattanooga. However, a win wasn’t meant to be as the clock ran out before the Lions could even the score.

With the first game of the 2009-10 season now under the belts, the Lions will take what they learned from it to practice as they work toward the start of the regular season. Five more exhibition games are on the schedule before they play their first conference game on Nov. 6 on the road against the Windsor Lancers.

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