NORTH MIAMI, Fla. -- The Mitchell College men's basketball team dropped a 75-71 decision to Keiser University on Tuesday night in the first-ever meeting between the two schools at the Wildcat Center.
Steffen Brunson paced the Mariners with a game-high 20 points and added team highs of six rebounds and nine assists. Domenico Santiago and Marvin Baker each added 12 points while Hasani Williams and Landon Peabody tacked on 10 points apiece.
Aaron Gedeon led Keiser with 20 points and added eight rebounds. Andrija Matic had 18 points and 15 rebounds, producing his fourth double-double in the last five outings.
Ryan Kroll entered the starting lineup and recorded a career-high nine points on 4-of-8 shooting from his guard spot.
In what would become a theme in the game, the Seahawks scored their first points of the game on free throws to take an early lead. However, back-to-back three-pointers from Brunson and Matt Finke put the Mariners in front for the rest of the half. After leading by as many as six in the stanza, Mitchell took a 33-30 lead into the locker room at intermission. Santiago led all scorers with 12 points at the break.
The Seahawks went on a 16-4 run near the start of the second half to turn the game around. A bucket by Andrija capped the run and left Keiser with its biggest lead at 51-44 with 13:47 to go in the contest.
Mitchell drew to within a possession, 53-51, after a three-pointer by Peabody with 11:59 left, but KU answered right back with a 6-2 spurt to lead by six with 9:03 remaining. Five minutes later, with KU leading 65-59, Mitchell scored five unanswered points to draw within one at the 3:28 mark, and then later tied it up at 66-66 with 2:53 left in regulation.
After exchanging points, Gedeon threw down a dunk with 1:11 still to play to put KU up by two. Keiser then forced a Mitchell turnover on the next two possessions before Kroll was fouled with just 16 ticks left. The guard split the pair to make it 71-68, but made up for his miss with a steal on the other end as Mitchell had a chance to tie.
On the ensuing possession, Kroll passed it ahead to Orlic who threw down a dunk to make it a five-point game with five seconds remaining. Mitchell then converted on a last hope three-pointer by Peabody with two seconds left to stay alive, trailing 73-71, but Keiser successfully inbounded the ball, and Thurston was fouled. The freshman calmly sunk both free-throws to seal the 75-71 Seahawk victory.
The biggest disparity of the game came at the free throw line, where Keiser made 34 attempts and scored 25 points. Mitchell attempted just five shots from the charity stripe on the night.
Mitchell (5-4 overall) will wrap up its Florida swing with a game at Johnson & Wales University (FL) on Wednesday, December 19 at 7 p.m.