FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University’s men’s basketball team battled for 40 minutes but came up just shy on Sunday in its second game of the Draemel Classic. The Warriors (4-5) fell to the No. 14 Bellevue Bruins (4-7) by a score of 90-88 after a back-and-forth battle at Wikert Event Center. It’s the fourth game the Warriors have played this season that’s been decided by one possession.
Midland relied heavily on freshman Malik Martin, who had a game for the ages. The Dallas, Texas native registered an astounding 50 points, the second most in Midland basketball history, just one point shy of tying Nate Kincanon’s 51 points from 1994, on just 23 field goal attempts on the night.
Martin set a new program record with 20 made field goals, breaking Jesse Jones’ record of 18 from the 2015-16 season. Martin was 20-23 from the field, including being 8-8 from three-point range.
“Malik kept us in the game during the first half,” commented head coach Oliver Drake. “What can say about him? He is 20-23 from the field, 8-8 from long distance with 50 points. Everyone witnessed a heck of a performance today.”
Six other Warriors combined for the remaining 33 Midland points, led by Bryce Parsons’ 10 points. Parsons nearly notched a double-double, finishing with nine rebounds, while also contributing an assist and a steal.
Freshman Dillon Faubel had a good performance off the bench as well, finishing with a career-high nine points to go with two rebounds and an assist on the afternoon.
The Bruins were led by a pair of talented shooters in Josh Lindsey-Hunter and Sequan Walker who finished with 25 and 23 points, respectively. Both players finished with eight made field goals, including Lindsey-Hunter being 7-9 from three-point range.
Bellevue led by as many as 10 points in the first half and looked to be just a basket or two away from fully blowing the game open. Aided by back-to-back field goals from Faubel, the Warriors kept the game within reach and trailed 43-38 at halftime.
Minimizing the damage at the end of the first half proved to be huge as the Warriors managed to take a lead early in the second half. Thanks to a 15-7 run, the Warriors led by as many as six with just under 12 minutes to play.
In the final 10 minutes, the game saw seven lead changes and four ties. Thanks to three-straight made field goals for the Warriors and a free throw from Parsons, Midland held an 80-79 lead with two and a half minutes to play.
Bellevue took command in the final two minutes. After Parson’s go-ahead free throw, the Bruins made each of their next three shots, including a Jaron Dickson three-pointer with 27 seconds left. The shot put Bellevue up by seven and essentially served as the dagger.
In the final 19 seconds, Martin scored eight points for Midland on a layup and two three-pointers, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the seven-point deficit. Martin’s final three with less than a second on the clock gave him an even 50 points for the game, but Midland fell just short at 90-88.
The Warriors shot an uncharacteristic 45.5 percent (5-11) from the free throw line, too small of a number if they want to come away with wins in one-possession games. Midland also turned the ball over 12 times after committing just two on Saturday.
“It was a disappointing loss,” Coach Drake said. “We’ve got a young group and we’ve got to keep working. I think we got better even though we didn’t get the outcome today. We can’t let one outcome stop us from continuing that.”
Midland (4-5, 2-2 GPAC) takes the court next on Wednesday, November 28, as they get back to GPAC play with a game against the Hastings (7-2, 3-1 GPAC). Tipoff from Wikert Event Center in Fremont is set for 8:00 p.m.