McALESTER — The Durant Lions played two games last week despite the snow. The McAlester Buffaloes, on the other hand, had to take 10 days off from competition as they waited for the snow to subside.
Small wonder, then, that the Buffs looked flat in a 74-61 loss to the Lions on Tuesday at Bob Brumley Gymnasium.
McAlester’s flatness showed itself in many ways, including an 8-for-19 performance at the free throw line, with many misses bouncing harmlessly off the front of the rim. The Buffs also struggled to rebound the ball cleanly on defense, the ball often deflecting out of bounds and staying with the Lions, and the Lions seemed to be the team grabbing loose balls.
The Buffs’ 3-point shooting looked sharp — four players combined to knock down nine shots from behind the arch — but that may have been it.
“It’s tough to just practice for 10 days,” Buffs coach Chris Zike said. Of a second quarter in which the Buffs gave up a 6-point lead, he added,
“We maybe got a little tired, didn’t move it as well, didn’t move the ball as well, didn’t execute as well — just the little things from not playing.”
With the Buffs up 17-11 late in the first quarter, momentum began to swing Durant’s way thanks to an impressive steal by Skye Lowe, the team’s regular starting point guard but a reserve Tuesday. Buffs guard Jalen Erving tried to bring the ball up the court against Lowe, but near the halfcourt line Lowe got his hand between Erving and the ball, immediately secured the steal, drove to the hoop and scored to cut the lead to 17-13.
Lowe went on to lead the Lions with 19 points. Also guarding Erving on the last possession of the first, Lowe crossed up Erving enough to get him to fall down twice.