Finlandia men end season with close loss

HANCOCK – The last note of the 2012-13 Finlandia men’s basketball season was a sour one Saturday, as visiting Presentation College was best in the final minute of a tight game and defeated the Lions 71-70.

The Lions led by eight down the stretch of a nip-and-tuck contest, but allowed the Saints back into it, where they were just a hair better.

“We had 16 more rebounds than them, shot 54 percent and we lost. That’s due to us turning the ball over 20 times,” Finlandia coach Terry Smith said.

Five of the Lions’ turnovers came in the last six minutes with the game in the balance.

“When we got it inside, good things happened, but when we started driving and doing all kinds of crazy things, that got us in trouble,” Smith said.

Finlandia trailed by as many as 12 in the first half and remained behind well into the second, taking its first lead of the second stanza on the second of back-to-back Matt Strong triples just inside the 10-minute mark, part of a 13-0 run that put the Lions in control.

Quincy Davis hit two treys and Terry Strong one for the Saints over the next five minutes to make the stretch drive a possession-by-possession affair.

After the Lions’ Jon Moore missed the tail end of a one-and-one, leaving it tied at 67, the Saints set up and called Chaz Haymond’s number for a gut-busting three from the left side with 25 seconds left.

Finlandia drew up its response, directed toward Matt Strong off a hand-off, but the Houghton alum missed and the Saints rebounded with 11 seconds left.

Anthony Grandberry propped the door open with a three for the Lions with 4.6 to play, but after a Finlandia foul, Davis’ missed free throw was still being contested as time expired.

Two seniors making their final appearances at Paavo Nurmi Gym led Finlandia’s effort: Grandberry finished with a game-high 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting, while Moore had 13 points and 13 boards.

The Lions finish their season with a 5-17 mark.

“We had a real weird start with three major injuries, and then we played some really hard teams, we played a lot of Division II’s. That combination got us down in a hole because we didn’t have the confidence we wanted,” Smith said. “We had a little run for a little bit, but in the last two games, we struggled a little bit, but Presentation’s a pretty good team.”