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Parkside men's basketball team loses heartbreaker in opener

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Sometimes you execute the way you intend, but the results still don't come out in your favor.

Such was the case in the final seconds of the UW-Parkside men's basketball team's season opener Friday night against Lindenwood (Mo.) at the Conference Crossover in Springfield, Ill.

The Rangers made a good defensive stand and ran an offensive set the way they wanted, but it was the Lions who emerged with a 75-74 victory in a back-and-forth affair.

In his first game with the program, Parkside redshirt junior transfer point guard Tray Croft led the team with 22 points, the final two on a jumper with 18 seconds remaining to give the Rangers a 74-73 lead.

Lindenwood called a 30-second timeout and got a shot for TJ Crockett, who went 13-of-25 from the field and led all scorers with 34 points.

Crockett's 3-point attempt didn't even draw iron, but the ball went right to Anthony Christian, who put it in with 5 seconds left for a 75-74 lead.

The Rangers then called timeout and had to go the length of the floor for the win. Croft got a look with a tough layup, but it didn't go at the buzzer.

Parkside coach Luke Reigel was pleased with both his team's final offensive and defensive possessions, but with a gauntlet of a non-conference schedule, he said the team has to execute better overall.

"We just made too many mistakes down the stretch to deserve to win tonight," Reigel said. "We are going to play a lot of close games this year, and we will need to execute at a high level if we are going to be successful."

Croft notched a double-double with 10 rebounds to go with four assists and a steal.

Redshirt sophomore guard Brandon Trimble scored 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting and added six boards, redshirt sophomore center Joey St. Pierre totaled 14 points, five rebounds and six blocks and redshirt sophomore guard/forward Brandon Hau added 10 points and six boards.

But the Rangers went just 2-of-11 from 3-point range and had seven assists to 10 turnovers.

Parkside trailed 42-36 at halftime but caught up and took a three-point lead at 56-53 on junior guard Ramar Evans' jumper with 10 minutes, 50 seconds remaining.

The Lions extended it back out to seven at 68-61 on Crockett's jumper with 6:02 to go, but the Rangers ripped off a 10-0 run to go ahead 71-68 on Trimble's 3-pointer with 3:55 left.

Crockett's 3 with 1:21 remaining put the Lions back ahead, 73-72, before the teams traded leads in the final seconds.

Parkside will conclude the weekend against host Illinois Springfield at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Mike Johnson



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