“Jacksonville was much better than us, they were much tougher than us, and I thought our guys played with no confidence offensively,” said Santa Fe College head coach Chris Mowry of his team’s home loss to Florida State College of Jacksonville (FSCJ) Wednesday night. Santa Fe now drops to 10-15 on the season as conference foe FSCJ moves to 9-14.
Santa Fe fell behind early in the first half when the team lost starting center Luka Filipovic for the rest of the game to an unidentified leg injury. In addition to the injury, FSCJ started out hot hitting six 3-pointers which contributed 18 of their 32 first-half points, as guards Jordan Mitchell and Kedarrius Tinker hit two treys each.
After falling down 21-10, Santa Fe started to full-court press to dig themselves out of an early hole. Two big shots by forward Nikola Jerotic and a couple of points off of turnovers got the Saints on a roll but FSCJ would lead 32-28 at the break after holding off a late run by Santa Fe. FSCJ’s largest lead of the half was 11 points and guard Jordan Mitchell would lead all first-half scorers with eight points.
The Saints started the second half aggressively as they maintained their press and forward Yaw Obeng-Mensah hit a couple of tough shots to shorten the lead to just three points with 17 minutes left to play.
Unfortunately, Santa Fe’s full court press caused the team to get into foul trouble as the opposition entered the bonus at the foul line with 10 minutes left to play. FSCJ found success focusing their game on attacking the paint and extended their lead to 22 points with five minutes left to play.
Led by late game heroics from guard Ricardo Jackson, Santa Fe chipped away at FSCJ’s lead until the team was a missed 3-pointer away from sending the game to overtime.
In a game that the Saints found themselves down by more than 20 points with five minutes left to play, they would fight back but ultimately lose a close one 71-69.
FSCJ’s 17 second-half free throws paired with excellent first-half shooting made it too difficult for the Saints to win the game. For the Saints, Ricardo Jackson would lead all scorers with 19 points, most of which came in Santa Fe’s late-game run. Chris Clark and Johnny Brown would lead the Blue Wave with 18 and 16 points respectively.
With just four games remaining, Santa Fe plays their next game Saturday at home against College of Central Florida.