COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Andrew Vickers delivered a career-high 35 points including nine three pointers but it wasn't enough as the No. 21 Whitman College men's basketball team came up just short in a 95-92 loss at Colorado College, Saturday in the finale of the Rocky Mountain Thanksgiving Classic.
Vickers was a one-man wrecking crew for the shorthanded Blues (5-2) who were without starters Robert Colton and Jaron Kirkley. Darne Duckett battled through a strained ligament in his hand suffered on Friday, forcing Vickers to shoulder much of the offensive load. The senior wing shot 63% from the floor including a career and team season-high nine three pointers.
Vickers' career performance kept the Blues in striking distance in the second half, and set the stage for a near Whitman comeback. Trailing by seven points with 10 seconds remaining, Trevor Osborne nailed a three pointer, then Whitman forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds play. Osborne nailed another triple to shave the deficit to a single point. CC's Eric Jonas was fouled on the next play and hit two free throws as the game came to a close.
Osborne finished with 17 points and Michael Gutierrez added 13. Duckett handed out a game-high seven assists despite not being 100%. Jones scored a team-high 26 points for the Tigers and CooXooEli Black put up a double double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
The Blues led a tight game early in the first half. The Tigers scored the game's first five points but Vickers quickly took control. He nailed three three pointers in a less than three minute span to give Whitman a 14-9 lead.
CC responded with a 12-2 run to regain its early five-point lead. Deante Dennis scored nine points in the run including a pair of three pointers, one of the and-one variety, and the Tigers led 21-16 with 12:41 to play in the half. Vickers hit from distance in transition to regain the lead for Whitman with 5:38 to play but the Tigers closed the half on a 9-2 run to lead 46-39 at the break.
The Blues faced an uphill battle for most of the second half but managed to stay within striking distance through some gritty play across the board. The effort paid off as Vickers drained a three pointer to put Whitman up 66-65 with 9:31 to play.
Whitman trailed by four with under five minutes to play before Osborne connected on all three free throws after being fouled shooting a three pointer. CC responded with an 8-2 run to all but seal the win. Osborne's late three-point barrage proved to be too little too late as the Blues fell short in the valiant effort.
Whitman has nearly two weeks off before visiting Eastern Oregon University on Friday, Dec. 13. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m.