But those two free throws would be Dawkins’ only points in the second. Unable to shake Durant defenders Stovall and Taylor Cox, Dawkins scored just 9 points all game.
Dawkins’ lack of scoring forced Jalen Erving (10 points) to take over as McAlester’s go-to scorer. Erving scored 11, hitting a 3-pointer late in the second quarter, and the Buffs trailed 35-23 at halftime.
“We were moving offensively and we competed harder on the defensive end,” Buffs coach Chris Zike said of the second quarter. “We didn’t just stand around.
“We didn’t come out to a good start, kind of stood around a little bit and had to fight back ever since. It was tough, battling, wanting to talk about trying to get those 50-50 loose balls, and it just didn’t go our way. We didn’t come up with enough of them.”
Having outscored Durant in the second, McAlester seemed to be building some momentum going into the second half. But Cater stole away McAlester’s opening possession of the third and scored in transition, then put back an offensive rebound on Durant’s next possession to make it 39-23 Lions early in the third.
Cater scored 14 for Durant. Lowe scored 16.
“Zac’s a leader of our team,” Wilkerson said of Cater. “He’s a bigtime player for us. He gets big rebounds; he gets big buckets. He’s always doing good things.”
Boyle led the Buffs with 14 points, and Texas Pascale scored 11. One of McAlester’s five seniors, Boyle played his last basketball game in a Buffs uniform.
McAlester’s other four seniors are Williams (7 points), De’Angelo Rhone (6 points), Austin Taylor (5 points) and Michael Stizza.
“Our teamwork started to bond together a little bit after the first (quarter),” Rhone said. “The first wasn’t very good. Coming out of the second, we tried to play a little harder, a little (more) together.”