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Briar Cliff Men fall to Arizona Christian

Briar Cliff Men fall to Arizona Christian

Three Chargers hitting the 20-point mark Wednesday afternoon wasn’t enough to top Arizona Christian and Briar Cliff was handed a 91-88 loss in Phoenix.

Briar Cliff trailed Arizona Christian by 20 points at halftime and was down by as many as 23 points in the second half but battled back to tie the game. Ethan Freidel hit a two-point shot to knot things up at 84 with 2:51 left to play.

The Firestorm went up again on the next possession with a made free throw before Freidel was fouled and sent to the line for a pair of his own freebies and the Chargers went on top for the first time in the half, 86-85.

A turnover by Arizona Christian set up the next basket for Jay Wolfe. Briar Cliff led 88-85 with 1:21 remaining but the Chargers were unable to put the game out of reach. Terence Shelby took over for the Firestorm in the final 1:10, scoring four free throws and a shot from the paint to give his team the win.

“I’m really proud of the way the guys battled back today,” said head coach Mark Svagera. “Unfortunately we dug ourselves a big hole against a good team and it cost us in the end.”

Freidel poured in a career-high 29 points in the loss. Lamb and Wolfe also hit double digits, scoring 24 and 20, respectively. Wolfe’s 20 points moves him into 21st on Briar Cliff’s all-time scoring list with 1,371 points. He passes longtime assistant Ron Schultz, who scored 1,353 points in his career at the Cliff.

Nic Lutmer grabbed eight rebounds and Jaden Kleinhesselink came off the bench to dish out five assists for the Chargers.

“Our players showed a ton of toughness through adversity to give ourselves a chance today.” Svagera added. “We’ll move on and be ready for tomorrow’s game.”

The Cliff was 33-of-75 from the field and 16-of-44 from beyond the arc. The team shot 6-of-11 from the free throw line.

Arizona Christian shot 42.3% from field goal range, 31.3% from the 3-point line and 83.9% from the charity stripe.

Shelby scored 26 points for Arizona Christian, which moves to 11-1 on the season.

Briar Cliff is now 11-3 overall. The Chargers will play again Thursday night at Benedictine University at Mesa. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.

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