DANVILLE, Ill. - For about 35 minutes, Iowa Lakes did every right to put itself in position to win a national tournament game.
The problem is that a game last 40 minutes and Owens Community College rallied from a 14-point deficit to edge the Lakers 74-72 in a first-round NJCAA-Division II Tournament contest on Tuesday.
"We didn't make any plays down the stretch," said Iowa Lakes coach Troy Larson. "We did everything to lose the game-we had turnovers, we missed free throws and took bad shots. We did all three of those things consistently in the last 5 minutes."
Iowa Lakes coach Troy Larson talks to his squad during a timeout in the Lakers’ first-round game against Owens Community College on Tuesday.
Larson said there is plenty of blame to go around. As a coaching staff, he said they should've made a defensive switch on Joe Retic.
"We should've put a bigger gun on him," Larson said.
However, the Lakers don't have time to dwell in the loss as they continue play in the consolation bracket today. Iowa Lakes (26-7) still can finish as high as seventh place, but must win the next two games to get to the seventh/eighth-place contest.
Iowa Lakes will face top-ranked and top-seeded Mott Community College at 3 p.m. today.
Central Community College 67-61 upset Mott in their first-round game.
"We've had too good of a year to have 5 minutes of basketball define this team," said Larson.
Iowa Lakes got off to a god start against Owens on Tuesday, but while the Lakers were scoring two at a time, the Express were scoring three at a time. Owns hit 3-pointers to tie the game at 6-6 and 12-12 before Kelly Madison and Tate Harmon hit back-to-back treys to give the Lakers an 18-14 lead.
Iowa Lakes pushed the lead to five midway through the first half before consecutive baskets by the Express cut the deficit to one, 24-23 with 8:30 on the clock.
Deondre Parks then got hot, hitting three 3-pointers over the next four minutes as Iowa Lakes led 37-29.
The Express pulled back within three before the Lakers scored the final two baskets of the half to lead 41-34 at the break.
Madison hit his second trey of the game to start the second half to push the Laker lead to double digits. Owens pulled back to within five, 53-48 with 14:17 left when Ben Shellim responded with a 7-0 run on his own.
Parks' fourth trey of the game gave the Lakers a 63-49 lead with just over 8 minutes to play.
But after leading 67-54 moments later, the Lakers only scored four free throws by Parks over the final few minutes.
Iowa Lakes still led 71-64 after the second set of free throws, but Madison missed a couple that would have kept the lead at seven points. Then Owens hit a 3-pointer to get within a basket and, tied the game on the next possession after a Laker turnover and then Retic gave the Express their first lead with about 30 seconds remaining.
Madison went to the line with 24 seconds left, but made just one free throw.
After a free throw by Retic, Iowa Lakes had several chances in the closing seconds, but couldn't get the ball to fall to tie the game.
Parks led the Lakers with 22 points on 7-of19 shooting including 4-9f7 from 3-point range and 4-of-f4 from the free throw line.
However, the Lakers were 8-of-18 from the free throw line overall.
Josh Schaben finished with 17 points and eight rebounds while Shellim finished with 11 points and three assists. Madison had nine points, seven rebounds and three assists. Colton Neff had four points, Tate Harmon had three, Diamonte McKinley, Mark Miedema and Kevin Larson each had two. Larson also had five assists.
Retic led Owens with 17 points while James Kelly had 16 and Andy Bachman had 12.