Score: Evangel 88, #9 Central Methodist | Box Score
Records: Evangel (12-10, 10-7); 21-2, 15-2)
Location: Springfield, Mo. | Ashcroft Center
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A second-half upset bid fell just short Thursday night for the Evangel women's basketball team falling 92-88 to No. 9 Central Methodist in Heart Conference action.
Evangel (12-10, 10-7) erased a 20-point deficit in an upset bid of 9th-ranked Central Methodist (21-2, 15-2).
The Crusaders, who knocked off the Eagles in November, took the lead with 2:21 left on a pair of Bayley Harman free throws. CMU would answer with a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession and keep the Crusaders at bay.
Emma Lander stole the ball with three seconds left and found Alexis Cauthon for a layup to pull the Crusaders within two, 90-88. However, with 1.7 seconds left, Evangel had to foul as the Eagles made both free throws.
"I am proud of how our girls never gave up tonight," said head coach Megan Leuzinger. "We rallied in the second half and were able to take the lead. Unfortunately, we couldn't hold on and left some points at the free-throw line."
Cauthon finished with 17 points after knocking down four of Evangel's 13 three-pointers. Kylee Moore led the Crusaders with 22 points.
Central Methodist out-rebounded Evangel 46-33 and used 21 second-chance points to help seal the win. Both teams struggled at the free-throw line with Evangel going just 3 of 7 in the second half.
"We didn't do a very good job of putting bodies on people and boxing out tonight," Leuzinger added.
"I am super proud of how Kylee played. She was relentless for us. I also thought Desi stepped up big for us both offensively and defensively."
Lexie Vaught added 17 points for the Crusaders while Harman also finished in double figures with 14 points.
The Eagles were led by 27 points from Mercedes Jefflo who added nine rebounds and five assists.
Evangel heads back on the road Saturday at Peru State. Tipoff from Peru, Nebraska is scheduled for 2 p.m.
For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EvangelAthletics or go to www.EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Go Evangel Front Row App at EvangelAthletics.com/FrontRow available on Google Play and in the App Store.