SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The Worcester State University men's basketball team could not close out Skidmore College on Wednesday night, suffering a heart-wrenching 69-68 loss to the Thoroughbreds in non-conference action at the Williamson Sports Center.
With the defeat, the Lancers fall to 4-5 overall on the season. The Thoroughbreds claim their third straight win and improve to 4-2.
Worcester State appeared to have the contest in the bag with just a touch under two minutes remaining, but were unable to close it out. A triple from Will Watkins Jr. (Southbridge, Mass.) gave the Lancers a 68-60 lead with 1:54 remaining in regulation, but the Thoroughbreds refused to go down quietly.
Sophomore Noah Meren (Providence, R.I.) responded to Watkins' triple with a bucket of his own at the other end to cut the Lancer lead to 68-62. After two empty possessions from the Lancers, Meren further chiseled into the Worcester State lead by hitting a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left, and the Lancers led by just four.
Skidmore needed to foul to give themselves a chance on the resulting possession, and they got the exact result they needed as Tyler Dion (Barre, Mass.) missed the front end of a one-and-one. Going the other way, Skidmore's Pat Gallagher (Croton-On-Hudson, N.Y.) got a driving bucket, and was fouled on the play. With a chance at a three-point play, Gallagher missed the free throw, but Meren stormed in for the offensive board. The sophomore put the ball back up and in to tie the game, and was, too, fouled. With five seconds showing on the clock, Meren gave the hosts an improbable 69-68 lead.
The Lancers got a good look with a chance to win the game, but a corner three from Watkins fell short and the Thoroughbreds claimed the come-from-behind victory.
Watkins finished as the Lancers' leading scorer on the night with 16 points, including going 4-for-7 from downtown. Junior Shaun McCarthy (Oxford, Mass.) finished with 14 points and Dion finished with 13.
Meren's late heroics capped a 19-point night for the Thoroughbreds, while Edvinas Rupkus (Naujoji Akmene, Lithuania) also finished with 19. Dapke Yiljep (Malvern, Pa.) finished with the contest's only double-double, recording 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lancers will look to return to the win column on Saturday afternoon, hosting Salve Regina at 1 p.m. for their final home contest of 2018.