ALVA, Okla. - A furious Southeastern rally nearly erased a nine-point deficit in the final 58 seconds, closing to within one point with eight seconds to play, but were unable to complete the comeback, falling to Northwestern Oklahoma State 72-69 on Thursday night in Alva, Okla.
The loss drops the Savage Storm to 6-14 overall and 4-11 in Great American Conference play heading into a Saturday afternoon matchup with Southwestern Oklahoma State at 4 p.m.
Despite the loss, SE remains tied for the final playoff position thanks to a loss by Ouachita Baptist.
A free throw with 58 seconds left by the Rangers Darrian Dempsey left Southeastern in a 67-58 hole.
Quinton Threadgill would kick off the rally with a three with 50 seconds remaining, and after fouling and having NWOSU make one-of-two at the line, it was Taylor Smaller's turn to drain the three, this one with 31 seconds to play to cut the deficit to 68-64.
Another Storm foul followed and the Rangers did their part by again making just one of the two tries which allowed Daichi Taniguchi to drain a three with 15 seconds remaining to make the score 69-67.
For a third straight trip the Rangers would get just one of two free throws, but instead of allowing the Storm to get up a three, they fouled Threadgill with eight seconds to play.
He would drain both freebies to close the score to 70-69, and the Storm would once again send NWOSU to the line, this time making both to leave SE down 72-69 with seven seconds to play.
The Storm would be unable to get a game-tying attempt off, leaving the final score 72-69.
Smaller turned in a game-high 18 points in the effort, hitting 8-of-14 from the field with a pair of threes, while also adding five rebounds and three assists.
Threadgill was not far behind with 17 points, shooting 4-of-7 from the floor and 3-of-5 from long range.
Urald King rounded out the team's double-digit scorers with 15 on a 5-of-8 shooting night.
King led the team on the glass with seven rebounds as the Storm held a 34-to-30 edge on the boards.
SE scored the game's first points, but NWOSU answered with the next seven and led for the rest of the game.
After trailing by double-digits the Storm appeared to make some gains late in the first half, cutting the deficit to five points on a Taniguchi three with 1:32 to play.
The Rangers, however, answered with a 7-0 run over the final minute-plus to take a 39-27 lead to the break.
SE would close to within five points on a Smaller jumper at the 15:14 mark of the second half, but NWOSU would answer and push the lead to double digits where it would spend much of the half until the late SE run in the final minutes.