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FLC loses rivalry game against Adams

Kot makes clutch free throws, but Skyhawks fall in OT
Akuel Kot of Fort Lewis College competes against Colorado State University Pueblo on Friday at FLC. Kot scored 12 points against the Thunderwolves and then scored a career-high 29 the next night against Adams State. Jerry McBride/Durango Herald

The Fort Lewis College men’s basketball team hosted rival Adams State on Saturday, and 40 minutes wasn’t enough to decide a winner.

The Skyhawks trailed by 11 with 4:36 left in regulation, but rallied and tied the contest from the free-throw line in the game’s last second. Akuel Kot made lots of big shots in the game for FLC, and with the pressure on, he sank three consecutive free throws to tie the game at 79-79 with 0.8 seconds on the clock.

Adams, however, pulled out a victory in overtime, 90-89, to win both the men’s and women’s rivalry games in Durango.

“Just credit to Adams State. They played really hard, made a lot of big plays and shot the ball well tonight,” said FLC head men’s basketball coach Bob Pietrack. “We, obviously, did not play our best game, but we have a lot of basketball left this season. This is a tough one to swallow, but we’ll get back at it Monday and get ready for a tough road trip.”

The FLC men trailed 72-61 with 6:01 left, but Dunnell Stafford hit a pair of jumpers to cut the lead to single digits, 72-63 and 74-65. Kot, who led the team’s comeback with 27 points in regulation and a career-high 29 total, made three of four free throws.Then Riley Farris and Corey Seng made baskets to cut the lead to 73-76 in the last minute. After Adams made one free throw with 13 seconds left, Kot dribbled down the court, found an opening at the top of the key and drained a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left.

Seng fouled right away, and Adams made both free throws, going up 79-76.

Kot got the ball and again, put up another 3-pointer and was fouled with 0.8 seconds left in the game.

With the game on the line, Kot went to the line and made three straight free throws to tie the game and send it into overtime.

“Akuel is really talented, offensively, and he kept us in it there. Those are big free throws that he made,” Pietrack said. “Unfortunately, we just didn’t get enough stops and didn’t deserve to win the game with how we played, defensively.”

In the extra period, Brenden Boatwright won the tipoff and then made two free throws. Adams made a basket at the other end and was called for charging only to have the call overruled as blocking on FLC.

Adams made the and-1 and then two more free throws to take an 84-81 lead. Boatwright made another basket, and Kot hit a field goal to give FLC a 85-84 lead.

Adams responded with a 3-pointer, then Riley Farris responded with a 3-pointer for Fort Lewis. Adams took an 89-88 lead with two free throws, and then Boatwright made 1 of 2 to tie it at 89-89. After Adams made 1 of 2 from the line, FLC turned the ball over with 36 seconds left, but got the ball back with 12 seconds left after a shot-clock violation. JacQuess Hobbs got the ball in the corner and put up a 3-pointer but missed and Adams grabbed the rebound. After a foul with 2.3 seconds left, Adams missed two from the line, but FLC’s full-court shot at the end was off target, and the Grizzlies took the win.

In addition to scoring 29 points, Kot also led FLC with three steals. Farris scored 18, Boatwright added 9, Stafford and Junior Garbrah each scored eight, Seng scored seven, Wittman had six and Hobbs chipped in four.

Nykolas Lange scored 21 to lead Adams.

FLC is now 9-6 overall and 5-4 in the RMAC. Adams improved to 9-8, 5-6.

This week, FLC will play at Colorado Mesa (15-7, 9-4) Friday and at Westminster College (8-10, 6-6) Saturday.