Lack of depth catches up with Finlandia men

By PAUL PETERSON

For the Gazette

HANCOCK – Finlandia University ran out of bodies Sunday afternoon against Silver Lake College and dropped an 88-81 men’s basketball decision.

The Lions, who had starting guard Matt Strong ejected early in the second half, then lost center Dominic Morrow and forward Keith Arnold on fouls in the second half.

“We were pretty much down to five guards at the end,” FU coach Terry Smith said. “It’s pretty tough to play that way … although we gave it a good shot.”

FU, which had trailed by 12 points with five minutes left, rallied to within 81-79 with under a minute to play.

John Duke and Darius Barnes then knocked down two free throws apiece in the waning moments to send the Lakers home with a win.

The setback cast some gloom on the Lions’ Homecoming festivities, but appeared to be in the cards because of the sizzling shooting of Duke and Barnes.

The former knocked in 35 points and hit five treys. The latter was good for 26 points.

“Give Silver Lake credit, they hit the shots when they needed them,” Smith said. “We couldn’t match their firepower.”

After falling behind 37-32 at the break, the Lions took a temporary lead early in the second half on a hoop by the hard-working Morrow.

Strong and Chris Jones of the Lakers were ejected minutes into the second half after a melee between the two.

The Lions battled to stay afloat in the second half behind the work of Morrow, who totaled 28 points and 18 rebounds in a sterling effort.

Losing Arnold to fouls made their work all that much more difficult.

Arnold managed 16 points and three assists, while Brandon Robinson had 16 points and four assists. Jonah Benoit put in 10 more points.

The Lions, who are now 3-18, host Grace Bible College on Thursday.