COLUMBUS, Miss. – Keith Harris scored 23 points and Carlos Wilkerson had 17 points and 11 rebounds against Blue Mountain College Thursday evening. The Owls grabbed an early lead but struggled to remain on top to fall 74-61 inside Emma 'Ody' Pohl Gymnasium.
The W (2-10) shot 41.2 percent from the floor making 21 of its 51 field goals. In three-point range, the Owls made 6-of-22 (27.3 percent) from beyond the arc and 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) at the free-throw line.
Blue Mountain (8-2) made 27 of its 62 (43.2 percent) field goal attempts, landed 9-of-21 (42.9 percent) in three-point range, and 11-of-15 (73.3 percent) at the line.
The Owls outrebounded the Toppers 38-33 and the two teams tied in points in the paint (30) and bench points (20). The W struggled with turnovers with 22 miscues while forcing only 15 from BMC. The Toppers took advantage of the missteps to scored 30 points off turnovers while holding the Owls to 10.
Quin Williams scored on a layup to give The W the first two points of the game. Da'Jonta Ross stepped outside the arc for three-points to put Blue Mountain on the board for a score of 3-2. The two teams remained neck and neck for the first few minutes until four players came off the bench for the Owls and shifted the momentum. With 13:10 left in the period and a score of 16-13 with The W on top, Milos Zeradjanin scored the Owls first three-pointer of the game and for first points of an Owls 15-6 run.
With 10 minutes left in the half, The Toppers, down 31-19, changed their strategy and focused on boxing in Owls shooters. The plan worked and BMC was able to go 11-0 run to get within one of The W lead. The W refocused and started a scoring battle to enter halftime tied at 39.
In the second half, the Owls and the Toppers continued their exchange of points before turnovers and fouls by The W allowed BMC to get a significant lead. With 12:54 left in the game, Blue Mountain went on an 11-5 run for a 60-52 lead. The Owls were unable to bounce back to fall 74-61.
The Owls will be back in action on Monday, Dec. 30 when they host Lyon College. Tipoff is set for 6 PM CT.