It has become an unnerving trend for Schreiner University men's basketball team — uncomfortably close losses.
In the season opener, the Mountaineers roared back from a 17-point halftime deficit, only to lose 99-96 to visiting McMurry on Friday afternoon.
The closeness has been a routine matter for the Mountaineers over the last two seasons. In the nine-game COVID-19 season, earlier this year, the Mountaineers had five games decided by four points or less.
What made this loss frustrating was the ferocity the Mountaineers used in the second half to storm back into the game — even taking an 89-88 lead with four minutes remaining on a Darian Gibson layup.
All five of the Mountaineers starters scored in double figures, and it still wasn't enough.
Schreiner University's Kamden Ross goes up for a slam dunk in first-half action against McMurry on Friday afternoon in Kerrville, Texas.
"The resiliency was there," said Schreiner coach Marwan Elrakabawy, now in his third season. "We saw some things as far as guys who can help us."
Kamden Ross had a huge night with 24 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Mountaineers. The freshman forward was 11-of-11 from the field and had three blocks. He played 23 minutes but fouled out.
Gibson scored 21 points in 36 minutes in his Schreiner debut. Gibson transferred to the Hill Country after two seasons at Texas A&M-International — an NCAA Division II program.
Schreiner didn't get many second-chance shots in the first half and turned the ball over 17 times. Those initial woes led to a bulging deficit heading into halftime.
However, the second half was a different story.
"We were able to move to a zone defense and get some stops," Elrakabawy said.
Elrakawaby stuck with his starting five in the second half — handing most of the minutes to them. Ross and Gibson responded. Ross scored 16 of his 24 points in the second half.
Senior guard Alex Dehoyos played all 20 minutes — fouling out in the closing seconds — and scored eight points. Jalen Ned also played all 20 minutes. Forward Mateus Reichert-Blume had a big first half with 12 points and finished the night with 17 points in 34 minutes.
Alex Dehoyos played all 20 minutes in the second half for Schreiner.
Darian Gibson scored 21 points in his Schreiner University debut.
The Mountaineers return to action at 2 p.m. today against Hardin-Simmons.
Schreiner 75, McMurry 70 (OT)
Josline Hernandez and Nariyah Buggs scored 14 points each to lead Schreiner University to a 75-70 season-opening overtime victory over visiting McMurry on Friday night.
In the debut of new coach Stacey Stephens, the Mountaineers outscored McMurry 18-13 in overtime to seal the victory. It was one area of fundamentals that propelled the Mountaineers — free throws.
To win the game, Schreiner converted 14-of-16 free throws in overtime, needing only two shots from the field. Hernandez and reserve guards Nylah Raines and Miranda Vallejo were four-for-four from the line to pace the Mountaineers.
Schreiner returns to action at 6 p.m. today against visiting Hardin-Simmons.