LANSING – Cutting the once 12 point lead down to six midway through the fourth quarter, the Oxford Blackhawks closed in on their chances of pulling off an upset over the third-seeded Lansing Bobcats. As the game came down to the final minutes, the Bobcats won the game at the free throw line as they held on to defeat Oxford 54-45 in the Section IV Class C first round game Wednesday night.
The Blackhawks got off to a slow start in the first quarter, scoring just seven points between Jason Davis (three points), C.J. Smith (two) and Brad Beckwith (two) while Lansing’s balanced attack scored 16 between five players.
Oxford’s offense slowly gained momentum in the second, scoring 13 points as Nick Cirello came alive to tally four points in the quarter. Smith led the run with five and both Davis and Beckwith chipped in two points. However, Lansing extended their lead by outscoring the Blackhawks 16-13.
The Bobcats took a 12 point lead into the locker room at halftime.
Out of the intermission, Oxford’s defense limited Lansing’s scoring to made baskets behind the 3-point line and just one from inside the arc. Offensively, the Blackhawks Smith, Beckwith and Davis did the damage they need to in the third and chipped away at the Bobcats’ lead.
By the end of the third quarter, Oxford had cut down the host team’s lead down to single digits and put the game within reach.
In the early minutes of the fourth, the Blackhawks were within two to three possessions of tying the game or taking the lead over the higher ranked team behind the five points by Davis from the field.
Unfortunately, Oxford went cold from the field, unable to make anything other than a Jacob Murrer baseline jumper. The only other points the Blackhawks were able to put on the board were free throws – which they made 4-for-5 of in the fourth quarter – as the clocked ticked down to zero...