ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Lyon College guard Daniel Ritchie put his heart – and abilities – on the line Thursday night because he didn't want his team's season to end, despite entering the American Midwest Conference Postseason Tournament as the 6th seed. But despite hitting 10-of-14 field goals off the bench for a career-high 24 points, it wasn't enough as Rickey Thomas' jumper to send the game into overtime with five seconds left was no good and No. 3-seed Missouri Baptist survived, 79-77, in the Carl and Deloris Petty Sports and Recreation Complex.
The Spartans (17-14) will now advance to Saturday afternoon's semifinals, where they will travel to Parkville, Mo. to battle No. 2-seed Park University (20-8) at 4 p.m. for the right to advance to Tuesday's conference tournament championship game against either Columbia College or Williams Baptist College.
In other quarterfinal action on Thursday, Park blitzed No. 7-seed Harris-Stowe State University (6-25), 105-73, No. 4-seed Williams Baptist (19-11) edged No. 5-seed William Woods (13-17), 70-68, and No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Columbia College (31-0) cruised past No. 9-seed Hannibal-LaGrange University (6-24), 67-52.
Lyon (9-20) trailed most of the game and only led briefly, 30-29, with 5:24 left in the first half. But the Scots never let the game away from them. Missouri Baptist built its largest lead of nine points, 76-67, with 4:17 remaining after going on a 9-1 run over a span of 2:22.
But the Scots crawled back in the game as Ritchie cashed in on three field goals, and suddenly Lyon had trimmed the lead back to 76-73 with 2:00 on the clock.
The teams then traded field goals, before Ritchie popped in a jumper in the paint with 50 seconds on the clock, trimming the Spartans lead to 78-77.
After a Lyon timeout, Lau'ren Jones converted only 1-of-2 free throws after a Ritchie foul, extending the MBU lead to 79-77 with 18 ticks left on the clock. That set up Thomas' two-point jumper which would have sent the game to overtime, but it wouldn't fall.
The Scots had struggled in the second half of their conference run with their shooting from three-point range, but that wasn't the case in this quarterfinal matchup as Lyon connected on 10-of-16 (62.5%) for the game, including 4-of-5 (80%) in the second half when the Scots outscored the Spartans 39-37.
Unfortunately for the Scots, Ritchie was the only Lyon player scoring in double figures. Thomas and Stephon Martinez each chipped in nine, Marcus Humose was held to eight, Slater Belew dropped in seven, to go along with eight rebounds, Ben Worlow recorded six, Marcus Williams scored five, Kendall Leeks had four, Devonte Young scored three and Jordan Layrock scored two points and pitched in eight boards.
Lyon struggled with its shooting in the first half, converting just 34.1% (14-of-41) from the field as the Scots trailed 42-38 at the break. But they warmed up slightly to 42.4% (14-of-33) after the break, finishing with a 37.8 percentile.
Missouri Baptist put pressure on the Scots with its ability to hit shots all night long. The Spartans converted 52.8% (19-of-36) in the first half and 50% (14-of-28) in the second, to finish the game shooting 51.6%.
LeAndre Johnson scored 17 points to lead MBU, with Matt Holmes chipping in 16 and Adrian Kuyinu adding 10 points.