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No. 5 Titans score 106 in win at SWOCC

Tarik Cool, men's basketball
Tarik Cool, men's basketball

The Titans got off to a hot start, but had to come from behind to win 106-100 at SWOCC.

How it happened: It was a back-and-fourth game in the first six minutes, with the Titans leading by one, 12-11. From the 14-minute mark to the 11:16 mark, the Titans went on a 12-2 run and had an 11-point lead. SWOCC immediately responded with an 8-0 run and forced a Titan timeout with 8:48 remaining, leading 24-21.

With 3:54 remaining in the 1st half SWOCC tied the game for the first time since it was 5 all less than three minutes into the game. The Lakers scored the final seven points of the half in the final 34 seconds. After leading by 11, the Titans got outscored 36-20 and were down 49-44 at half.

The Titans only shot 39.5 percent, made 3-17 threes and 11-19 free throws; the Lakers shot 50 percent and made 6-7 from the line.

Tarik Cool had 13 points and seven rebounds, but was 4-8 from the line; Cody Mathis had nine points and six rebounds.

The Lakers opened the 2nd half on a 7-3 run in the first 90 seconds of the 2nd half and led by their largest margin of eight. Rodney Hounshell scored eight straight points in 74 seconds and cut the deficit to three with 16:16 remaining. Lucas Wilson tied the game at 63 at the 14:26 mark.

The Titans final regained the lead after a tying the game a few times at the 12:28 mark thanks to a Lucas Wilson layup. Wilson then finished off a personal 7-0 run after an and-one with 11:46 remaining. Tarik Cool made two free throws with 5:01 to go to make it a nine point lead, 93-84.

The Titans had a 10-point lead after a Cody Mathis layup with 1:38 to go and the game looked secured, but after a pair of SWOCC free throws, the Lakers had cut the deficit to four after an 8-2 run over the previous 1:23, and the Titans 2-4 mark at the line and a turnover. Cody Mathis came out of the Titans timeout with 10 seconds remaining and made two free throws and the Titans held on.

The Titans shot a much better 55 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three, but 13-19 from the line helped to keep SWOCC in the game;  they committed 15 fouls, allowed 22 free throw attempts and 65.4 percent shooting; they scored 62 points in the 2nd half and 58 of them came from the starters.  

What/who stood out: The Titans had a season-high 38 free throw attempts, but made only 24 of them for a season-low 63.2 percent shooting…they allowed a season-high 56.3 percent shooting mark to a team that shoots 44 percent…they did commit a season-low four turnovers and have committed single-digit turnovers in three of their last four NWAC games.

Tarik Cool had his first career double-double with 30 points and 10 rebounds, and was 7-13 from the line, dropping his season percentage from 82.5 to 77.3 percent… Cody Mathis had a career-high 24 points and his third career double-double with 13 rebounds; he also played only 30 minutes for the second time against an NWAC opponent.

What it means: The Titans move to 2-1 in conference play and 13-2 overall (alumni game is now a non-counting scrimmage). The Titans are tied for 2nd with Linn-Benton behind three 2-0 teams. The Titans are now 9-0 away from Titan Coliseum.

What's next: The Titans host Portland (3-11, 0-3) this Saturday, Jan. 12 at 4 p.m. For more about Portland, check out the game week preview on the men's basketball page.