The power outage that affected much of northwest Gainesville early Saturday afternoon followed the Santa Fe Saints into the gym as they struggled offensively in a 67-58 loss to Eastern Florida State College.
The Saints shot just 29% from the floor in what was their lowest scoring output of the season. "We struggled so much to score, we couldn't get into any kind of rhythm," said SF Head Coach Chris Mowry. "We didn't give ourselves a chance."
Still, the game stayed close through most of the first half and it took a free throw in the closing minute by Jalen Warren to push the Titans lead to seven points at 37-30 at the break.
"I felt we were very good in the half-court defensively," said Mowry "that's what kept us in the game."
Jonathan Ned hit one of two free throws six minutes into the second half to give the Titans a 14-point advantage at 53-39, their largest lead of the game. A pair of free throws by SF forward John Mason cut the deficit to three at 58-55 with three minutes left to play, but EFSC made five of six foul shots the rest of the way to hold off any possible comeback.
Ivan Smith led all scorers with 18 points for the Saints while Noah Thorp scored 15 and Admir Besovic 12. The one bright spot for the Saints was their free throw shooting where they were 18 of 20 including a perfect 10 for 10 in the second half.
SF (12-10, 1-4 MFC) will host Florida State College/Jacksonville on Wednesday when the Blue Wave come to Gainesville for the 8 pm game. The Saints have lost three straight conference games after winning their MFC opener over FSC/J 67-46 on January 5.
"We have to play better than this," said Mowry. "We have some work to do."
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